District News, October 1 2021

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Hikers return with mountain of charity cash

There was a heroes’ welcome for the Over the Hill hikers as they returned to Tarbert after conquering Ben Nevis for Parkinson’s UK.

Piper John Hunt serenaded Don Murray, Tony Baccoli, Callum MacFarlane, Will Hemphill and Tom Lewis as they returned on September 16, having raised more than £4,000 for the charity.

The team was, of course, given huge support by the people of Tarbert, the Corner House bar and many others.

Margaret MacNeill of the Corner House posted on social media: ‘We are delighted the wonderful Over the Hill team has raised in excess of £4,000 – Gift Aid to be added.

‘Thank you to the Frigate Hotel, Kilbrannan Bar in Campbeltown and Renewi Lochgilphead for promoting and collecting sponsor money. Thanks also to the Secret Baker and One Fyne Deli for preparing the food. Also to John Hunt for piping. It caused a wee stir on Thursday lunchtime.

‘Parkinson’s UK is our chosen charity and we are humbled by your generosity. Most of all we have to say a huge thank you to Don, Will, Tony, Tom and Callum for choosing to support Parkinson’s UK.’

The Over the Hill heroes enjoy a welcome pint with Duggie MacNeill of the Corner House – with a big cheque for Parkinsons UK


Airport firefighters’ runway run ready for take-off

People of all ages and abilities are being given the unique opportunity to walk or run Islay Airport’s runways in a fun-filled fundraiser for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).

Organised by the airport’s firefighting crew from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL), the charity event tomorrow (Saturday, October 2) will see the runways closed and the public take over for their 5km challenge.

Event organiser, firefighter Lorna MacInnes, said that around 200 people had already signed up for the fundraiser and she expected many more to follow.

‘People on Islay know the amazing work that SCAA does for the folk on the islands,’ she said, ‘and they’re keen to do their bit and give something back.

‘The air ambulances are literally a lifeline for our community and we thought it would be a great idea to combine fundraising for them with a unique event.’

The October 2 event will be the first time people have had access to the island airport’s runways and the firefighting crew is confident the whole island will get behind their efforts.

‘You don’t have to be super-fit to join in,’ stressed Lorna. ‘This is an event for everyone.

‘It’s all flat ground and the views are amazing! Even if you just dawdle your way round and leave the record-setting to the runners, you’ll have a lovely time.’

Children can opt to take on a shorter one-mile route and the organisers are hopeful that the island’s schools will join in.

‘Some of the airport firefighters will be running in full kit and we’re also keen to see other 999 service colleagues sign-up in support as well as family groups, work colleagues and social groups,’ said Lorna.

‘And the fun will go ahead – no matter the weather.

‘Even if they’re not doing the walk/run, people will be very welcome to attend and enjoy some refreshments and home baking.’

Funds will be raised through an entry fee – £5 for adults and £3 for children – and a spectacular raffle supported by organisations and businesses on the island.

Teas and coffees are being supplied by HIAL.

‘SCAA’s helicopters, pilots and paramedics are always there for the people of Islay,’ concluded Lorna. ‘This is a chance for the whole community to show that we can be there for them.’

Nick Harvey, SCAA’s director of fundraising and communications, praised the firefighters’ imagination in creating a unique fundraiser for the charity.

‘We’re hugely indebted to them for their support and to the people of Islay for getting behind this event,’ he said.

‘SCAA relies entirely on public donations to fund our life-saving service 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, and this is exactly the type of fundraising event which helps keep us in the air.

‘We are proud to be able to serve those most in need in our island communities and to be a regular visitor to Islay when serious illness or injury strikes.

‘I’m sure the runway run will be an incredibly enjoyable event and good luck – and thank you – to everyone taking part.’

Anyone wanting to take part in this unique opportunity is invited to just show up on the day with their entry fee.