PATIENTS and practitioners at a York health clinic were dealt a devastating blow when its founder was diagnosed with terminal cancer soon after the lockdown forced the business to close.

Professor of acupuncture research at the University of York, Hugh MacPherson, now 72, founded the York Clinic for Integrated Healthcare in 1983.

It has since become one of the go-to health centres for complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy, osteopathy and psychotherapy in the area.

The lockdown in March meant the centre had to shut for the first time in 37 years.

Hugh’s family said he was then diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May. He has since stepped down as Chair of the Board of the Northern College of Acupuncture which he co-founded in 1988.

With the pandemic and Hugh’s continuing ill health, the future of the clinic looked uncertain. His family rallied round.

Hugh's daughter Shona MacPherson relocated from Glasgow with her partner Josh Carrington, while his son Angus moved from London to take on the task of making the 19th century building on Tadcaster Road safe to reopen.

Shona and Josh are taking on the day-to-day running of the clinic. Shona was previously responsible for community fundraising activities for the RSPB in the South West of Scotland and Josh worked for Glasgow Life in multiple community centres and music venues.

His experience managing large public facilities enabled the couple to develop plans to ensure the safety of people at the York Clinic. With new safety procedures, cleaning and safety equipment in place, the clinic has now reopened.

Alison Longridge, acupuncture practitioner, said: “To see how much effort has been put in making the clinic a safe place has made me feel confident in coming back to work and supported in an unprecedented time”.

Measures include a one-way system, hand sanitising stations, practitioner PPE and cleaning between every patient.

Clinic manager Shona said: “The clinic is a place where people come to deal with a wide range of health issues. Through being adaptable and diligent we have managed to raise our safety standards to take on the challenges of COVID-19.

"With the new measures in place, our hands-on practitioners feel confident enough to help even the most vulnerable of visitors.”