A mammoth hillwalking challenge has raised more than £50,000 for a foundation set up in memory of former Aberdeen FC Community Trust chairman Duncan Skinner.
The team of four conquered seven Munros – including five of the six highest in Scotland – in aid of the trust’s Brighter Futures Legacy Fund, which was set up earlier this year.
The quartet climbed a total of 10,000 feet, walked 40 miles and completed more than 90,000 steps in 24 hours.
One of those taking part was current AFCCT chief executive Liz Bowie, who described it as “the toughest walk of her life”.
She was joined by trust ambassador Mark Wilson, Iain Landsman and Eric Harper, and together the four managed to raise £53,000 – more than half the sum needed to run the trust for five years.
‘Humbling level of support’
“It’s been humbling to see the level of support that we have received from across the community,” Mrs Bowie said.
“Duncan touched the lives of so many people and he was influential in making the Trust what it is today.
“The challenge was the toughest walk of my life and definitely befitting of the cause we raised money for.
“The highlight was reaching the top of Ben Macdui at first sunlight to find the summit sitting just above a full cloud inversion.
“It’s an experience that I’ll never forget, and I know Duncan was proudly looking down on us.”
Young people supported by fund
Mr Skinner, who in addition to his role with the community trust was also a director at Aberdeen FC and helped save mattress-making social enterprise Glencraft, passed away in April after a year-long battle with cancer.
Before his death, he made a £20,000 donation to set up the Duncan Skinner Brighter Futures Fund, which supports AFCCT’s work with young people.
It supports several initiatives, including the Young Ambassador programme to help 14-18-year-olds achieve skills and qualifications which would not have been available to them.
Challenge ‘just felt right’
Mr Landsman said it “just felt right” to support the fund through he and Mr Skinner’s shared passion for hillwalking.
“We had a common passion for being up in the hills and would often share photos or tales from walks,” he said.
“I recalled Duncan telling me about a mammoth walk he completed in 2009 raising money for PSN.
“We had previously done four other walks for AFCCT and had been planning a significant walk, which Duncan was going to join us on, last year to mark our fifth year of fundraising, however, plans were put on hold.
“It just felt right, given the tragic passing of Duncan, that we should set ourselves the challenge of walking in his footsteps in aid of his legacy fund.”
Of the £100,000 required to fund Brighter Futures for the next five years, more than £85,000 has already been raised.
That sum includes donations from businessman Bob Keiller, Dons chairman Dave Cormack and £17,000 through a crowdfunding page.