A DEDICATED campaigner who spent years trying to save Malcolm Sargent House says the memories will live on despite plans to demolish the building.

Billy Herd, 79, spent 10 years as a volunteer for the Prestwick holiday getaway, which was visited by families whose children had terminal or life altering conditions.

Last month, we told who he was disgusted to find that grounds filled with special moments was left ruined with cans of booze lying in what was described as a ‘drinks den’.

Ayr Advertiser: South Ayrshire Council granted permission for the building to be demolished. South Ayrshire Council granted permission for the building to be demolished.

The owner of the property, also a former hotel took, action after South Ayrshire Council made him aware that vandals had entered left a trail of broken glass.

Since then metal fencing has been erected to keep yobs out but Billy, who regularly checks up on his old stomping grounds, noticed that signs marking the building for demolition had been erected.

He told the Advertiser: “It was great to see that something was done about it with fences put up.

“But I could see demolition signs, I could also see windows were open as if they were clearing out the inside.

READ MORE: Malcolm Sargent House in Prestwick is left ‘a disaster’ after lockdown boozing

“I knew it was on the cards, it’s really sad.” Billy was instrumental in a passionate campaign to help save Malcolm Sargent House when then owners CLIC Sargent wanted to sell their asset.

He now accepts the end of 10 amazing years working with the children of the facility, some of whom he still keeps in touch with after they went on to beat cancer.

Ayr Advertiser: Malcolm Sargent House had become a disaster during lockdown. Malcolm Sargent House had become a disaster during lockdown.

Billy said: “It’s very unfortunate, in a way I would like to have seen it stay.

“It would have taken a lot of money but I genuinely think the people of Prestwick and beyond would have come together to raise funds to sort it all out.

“The community would have backed it.”

Billy is n ow an ambassador for Whiteleys Retreat and he is already looking forward to welcoming back families there.

He added: “When one door shuts another one opens.

“The history of Malcolm Sargent might be finished but the memories live on.

“I still keep in touch with some of the kids who have survived about their time when they were there. “They always talk about the great memories, and there are so many.”

Ayr Advertiser: Billy helped lead the campaign to save Malcolm Sargent HouseBilly helped lead the campaign to save Malcolm Sargent House

The owner of the property told the Advertiser that sealing off the building to potential vandals was the correct thing to do. But they made no comment regarding the demolition.

South Ayrshire Council have advised that a demolition warrant was signed off in January 2018.

Councillor Hugh Hunter says it will be a big loss to the town.

He said: “It is very nostalgic, there was a lot of hard work that went into it from volunteers to raise funds to allow families to enjoy their stay there.

“It’s really sad to see it go but I understand if that is the safest thing to do.

“I just hope that the owners take good care of it and what comes next is worthy of what Malcolm Sargent House was.”