THE MAN BEHIND the ban on a swimming trainer who provides guidance to Autistic children and adults was not present when a large protest was held outside the Moray Leisure Centre on Friday.
However, Centre manager Steve Ash will be left in very little doubt over the strength of feeling against his decision to impose the three-month ban on Kevin Anderson.
Support for Mr Anderson has been growing steadily since it was revealed that Mr Ash had decided to impose the ban, insisting it was for “health and safety” reasons – despite claims that the rule he imposed the ban over had been ignored repeatedly by the centre’s own staff.
Local volunteers for the National Autistic Society Scotland, who have worked with Mr Anderson in providing swimming and surfing lessons for people with Autism, insisted they would not give up their fight to have his ban lifted.
A spokesman said: “We have clear evidence that the ‘marker’ rule has been broken numerous times before and after the ban was imposed on Kevin – by employed staff at Moray Leisure Centre.
“Mr Ash has tried to justify the decision on health and safety grounds that are there to protect the public – but his statements sound more like back-pedalling over what was a wrong decision.”
Dozens turned out for an hour on Friday displaying placards in a ‘peaceful protest’ against the ban, insisting that if Moray Leisure Centre had even agreed to meet them to discuss the ban then that may not have been required.
Mr Anderson said: “It makes me feel better to know I have such support – even people I helped teach to swim years ago have turned out since the ban.”
The Chairman of the Moray and Nairn branch of the National Autistic Society, Glyn Morris, said it was “ridiculous” that the ban was imposed with no right of reply for its victim: “We have tried to engage with management at every opportunity and it has been rejected.
“The ban itself and the fact that there is not an appeals process in place are ridiculous.”