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A Campbeltown man, who walked 5K every day of November to raise money for a mental health charity, ended his challenge in style by completing his final walk dressed in drag.
Scantily-clad in a red and black burlesque-style outfit and sporting a styled pink wig, Tom Donnachy – known on the day as Anna Conda – braved Monday’s chilly weather to walk five kilometres around Campbeltown as part of Kintyre Link Club and ACUMEN’s ‘take five’ challenge.
Sarah McFadzean, in her role as a development worker for ACUMEN – Advancing Community Understanding of Mental and Emotional Needs – joined forces with Kintyre Link Club manager Tracy Chambers to launch the challenge at the beginning of November.
They were inspired by David Brown, a manager at Campbeltown’s Tesco Metro store, who is completing a personal challenge of running five kilometres every day of 2020 in a bid to raise money for charity as he maintains his fitness.
For every kilometre he completes, David donates 30p of his own money to the charity of his choice for that month. He decided to donate the proceeds from his November fundraising to Kintyre Link Club.
The ‘take five’ challenge was created so others could join in by walking, running or doing the exercise of their choice, to raise additional sponsorship for the club.
Tom decided to participate in a bid to repay some of the financial and emotional support he has received from Kintyre Link Club.
He was joined on Monday by a troupe of supporters, many of whom also took part in the ‘take five’ challenge throughout November.
Tom told the Courier: ‘I suffer with a lot of mental health problems and, without the support of Kintyre Link Club and Tracy, who has been absolutely fantastic, I would have fallen into a really dark place.’
Tom’s mental health deteriorated after the breakdown of a relationship, but it was his ex-partner who put him in contact with Tracy, and also sponsored him £50 to take part in the challenge.
He was also sponsored £50 by Caroline Semple, of Campbeltown charity Shopper-Aide, whose idea it was to do the walk in drag.
Tom explained: ‘I asked everyone to sponsor me £1 and Caroline told me she would give me £50 if I did it in drag. I couldn’t do it in drag every day – it would be too inconvenient to get my make up done – but I suggested doing the last day in drag and she said fair enough, she’d sponsor me £50.’
Tom has raised between £300 and £350 in total.
‘People have been really generous,’ he said. ‘I hoped I would raise £30 but it spiralled and people started offering me more and more money, especially if I did it in drag.’
He received help from Beckie Shields, also from Shopper-Aide, who applied his glamorous make-up ahead of Monday’s walk.
He added: ‘Finding the motivation to get out the house can be really difficult, so having this challenge was brilliant; it did me the world of good.
‘I think I will keep up the walking – not seven days a week but maybe Monday to Friday. I’ve actually treated myself to a pair of walking boots as all my trainers were wearing down.
‘I’d love to thank the people at Shopper-Aide for all their help and donations, Kintyre Link Club for being there and supporting me, and Sarah from ACUMEN; if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have done it.’