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Thompsons Solicitors have reinforced their position as Scotland’s leading campaigning law firm, after clients scooped the Herald newspaper’s prestigious Public Campaign of the Year title for the second year in a row.

The C-Diff Justice Group who successfully campaigned for a public campaign into the deaths of 18 of their family and friends, who died when the killer bug swept through Vale of Leven Hospital, won this year’s title. 

Last year Clydebank Action on Asbestos picked up the award for their tireless efforts to support the victims of asbestos related conditions.

Thompsons represent both campaigns providing them with legal and political advice and media support.

Frank Maguire, Thompsons senior partner said: “We are delighted to be associated with two such worthy winners of the Public Campaign of the Year title.

“This year’s winners, the C-Diff Justice Group fought a text book campaign, which used every part of the political process and achieved its objective within a remarkably short span of time.

“Clydeside Action on Asbestos were equally worthy winners, having provided such dedicated support to the victims of asbestos for 25 years, as well as playing their part in changing the law to ensure those affected and their families fare significantly better in Scotland than in England.

“Ironically one of the most successful and sustained campaigns we’ve supported – the fight for justice for the victims of Hepatitis C – narrowly missed out in winning the title in 1998, or we would have been celebrating three in a row”.

Sisters-in-law Michelle Stewart and Helen McGinty accepted this year’s Award and promptly dedicated it to the families and friends of the Vale of Leven victims.

Radio Journalist Colin Mackay who hosted the awards ceremony said: “This is an especially important award because it recognises those who engage most effectively with the political system.”

Sarah McGinty who was Helen’s mother and Michelle’s mother in law was one of the 18 patients who died in the C-Diff outbreak at the Vale of Leven.

Michelle said: You don’t realise how much an award like this means till you actually hold it.

“We are very proud to have won it and to accept it on behalf of all our family and friends who have suffered in the Vale.”

 “Now that we have a public inquiry we hope that its findings will ensure that our hospitals are safer places for everyone.”

Helen said: “We want to thank everyone who supported us, and particularly Thompsons Solicitors and our local MSP Jackie Baillie.”

Jackie Baillie said: “I am really delighted for Michelle, Helen and all the others in the C-Diff Justice Group who have put in so much hard work on this campaign.

“It’s been a real privilege for me as their MSP to what I could to help them on the political front, but they are the ones with passion and determination to get to the bottom of C-Diff scandal.

“They richly deserve the Public Campaign of the Year title.”Patrick McGuire of Thompsons Solicitors, the C-Diff Justice Group’s solicitor said: “The group had a highly articulate and engaging spokesperson in Michelle Stewart who was more than a match for politicians and journalists alike.

“But their greatest strength was the clarity of their objectives.

“They were totally clear that they wanted a public inquiry, not for themselves, or even the loved ones they lost, but to identify and address the underlying issues that caused the deadly outbreak and prevent it happening again.

“Even when Nicola Sturgeon eventually announced a public inquiry they refused to let matters rest till she agreed to widen its remit to include ‘experiences within and beyond Scotland’.“They are a shining example of what ordinary people with no political experience can achieve.”

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