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Three Campbeltown girls are in training for a fundraising challenge to help other children celebrate a Christmas as special and exciting as their own.
Eight-year-olds Jessica McGeachy and Emma Johnston, and seven-year-old Abigail McAllister have set their sights on walking the Mull of Kintyre (MOK) Run 10K route to raise money for Children 1st, a charity which aims to give every child in Scotland a safe and secure childhood.
The girls – who are all in P4 at Castlehill Primary School and have been friends since nursery – were inspired to raise money for others after realising how fortunate they are to have happy and healthy homes, and that now, more than ever, not all children have the same experience.
They chose Children 1st after learning about the charity’s ‘excellent work’ supporting children throughout Scotland, including in Argyll.
The youngsters discussed different options for fundraising but, taking into account current Covid restrictions, felt that a sponsored walk was the most suitable option.
They decided on the MOK Run 10K route as they have a good visual understanding of the length they’d have to walk as they usually enjoy watching the race and cheering on the runners.
The girls will be supported by Jessica’s big sister Adelle and her friend Jade McCallum, both aged 11, throughout the walk, as well as Jessica and Adelle’s parents.
Adelle and Jade are keen to give moral support and encouragement to keep the younger three going if they get tired as it is a long way for little legs.
Other family and friends are keen to support the girls too by standing at different points along the route to offer encouragement, and there will also be homemade treats at the end from proud grandparents.
Their parents told the Courier: ‘We are all very proud of the girls. Their class teachers and school as a whole really promote kindness and citizenship so this is something with which the girls are very familiar and enjoy doing. They feel an immense sense of pride and are totally overwhelmed with the response they have had for their walk.’
Linda Jardine, director of Children and Family Services at Children 1st, said: ‘Children are at the heart of everything we do as a charity so we’re absolutely delighted to see children like Jessica, Abigail and Emma going the extra mile to help other children – what a wonderfully kind thing to do.
‘Thanks to their incredible support, we will continue to give children and families across Scotland emotional, financial and practical support to help them to feel strong, put food on their table, keep a roof over their heads and keep children learning during this terrible pandemic.
‘Their extraordinary efforts mean that in the run up to Christmas, our local services across the country, will continue to provide money, advice, emotional and wellbeing support and practical help so that all children, whatever their families face, can enjoy a happy, safe Christmas at home.
‘On Christmas day, our Children 1st Parentline team will be here, as they are every day of the year, to offer families free support on 08000 28 22 33 or via webchat at www.children1st.org.uk/parentline.’
This is not the girls’ first taste of fundraising – Adelle and Jessica held their own Macmillan Cancer Support ‘at home’ coffee morning for friends and family a few years ago, and all three are often involved in school fundraising events and regularly participate in community fundraising activities.
They will take on their 10K challenge next Sunday (November 29). To sponsor them, search ‘Friends walk for Christmas’ on the JustGiving website.