A policeman is pounding a beat with a difference, walking almost 100 miles from Fort William to Glasgow without stopping, to raise money for a charity set up in memory of a Lochaber girl who died in a car crash.
Constable Paul Gallagher set off yesterday morning and was expecting to reach the other end of the West Highland Way tonight or the early hours or tomorrow.
The proceeds of his gruelling challenge are to be shared equally between Kirsty’s Kids, a charity set up by the parents of Kirsty Bryden, and the Police Treatment Centre in Auchterarder.
Kirsty, 19, and her passenger Roddy MacInnes, 17, died when their car left the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road and plunged into a loch near their homes at Lochailort in September 2010.
Her parents John and Jan, set up the charity to tell Kirsty’s “amazing and inspirational” story of her work helping other children in Africa, and to encourage other young people to help others.
They have turned their house into a respite care home for seriously ill or suffering children and their families.
Constable Gallagher, 45, from Dumbarton, said he was inspired to tackle the 98-mile walk by John Bryden and the challenges he has undertaken to raise money for Kirsty’s Kids.
He added: “I also wanted to raise money for the Police Treatment Centre at Castle Brae as I have been there several times and they do a great job.
“The furthest I’ve walked in one go before is about 20 miles, but I’ve been training for this and there’s no way I won’t complete it.”
He has not set himself a fundraising target, but has already raised £1,400.
Mr Bryden, who walked part of the way with Constable Gallagher, explained that the charity helped care for children and families affected by serious trauma, violence or the effects of bereavement when a parent has been taken from them.
He said: “It is through people like Paul taking the time out and training and going through this gruelling challenge that the charity is able to survive and the kids are able to benefit.”