A north-east police officer will use the survival skills he picked up in the Royal Air Force (RAF) to raise money for sick children and their families this weekend.
Lionel Holmes, 51, will head to the cliffs of the Forvie National Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire today – and will remain there for 72 hours without a tent and only a limited amount of food.
The constable, from nearby Newburgh, will be joined by two friends from the village as he attempts to raise money for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).
And while Bill Turrell, 50, and Mark Allan, 40, may be good company as he wiles away the hours in the wilderness, they may actually make his task harder – because neither of them have any experience in outdoor survival.
Mr Holmes said he was looking forward to putting the pair to the test.
“They’ve volunteered but I don’t know why,” he laughed.
“The biggest challenge for me this weekend will be looking after the other two and keeping their morale up.”
Mr Holmes is far more confident of his own outdoor survival skills, having spent 72 hours alone on Bennachie, two years ago to raise £3,500 for CHAS.
Previously he was in the RAF for 30 years and played a role in every UK conflict from the Falklands War onwards.
During their stay the trio will improvise and use anything they find washed up on the sea shore to provide shelter and any other needs.
Mr Holmes said: “We will be heading into the cliff area with only water and a small amount of food but no tent.
“We will have to build something out of what is around us.
“I will be giving them a demonstration for lighting a fire, using just matches and what is near us – this is no easy task.
“We will be completely unsupported, unlike the challenges you see on TV.”
Regional fundraising manager for CHAS, Stephen Hart, said his team were grateful for the support and wished the three adventurers luck.
“When we heard about Lionel’s latest challenge we were amazed,” he said.
“It’s such an exciting idea and we can’t wait to see how he gets on with survival novices Bill and Mark.
“It’s great to have backing from such an ambitious supporter, his fundraising efforts and continued support always put CHAS in the spotlight.”
“The funds raised will help us in continuing to provide specialised care to babies, children and young adults across Scotland with life shortening conditions.”
CHAS is the only charity in Scotland which works with children who face terminal illnesses.
It supports more than 350 families and offers bereavement services for parents who lose their children.
Mr Holmes said it was a wonderful cause to support.
“I’ve got two young children myself and the worst thing that could happen to me in life would be to outlive them,” he said.
“The pain I will go through this weekend is nothing compared to a family who will be told a child is terminally ill.”
His fundraising efforts can be supported at