George Russell has always blazed his own trail, whether working as a printer, a shipbuilder, a professional footballer or with oil and gas operator Chevron.
And, later this week the 85-year-old Aberdonian will add ‘Firewalker’ to that list.
Along with five members of his family, Mr Russell will tread over burning embers on Friday March 8 at the Aberdeen Altens Hotel in aid of Sue Ryder Dee View Court, the country’s only specialist neurological care centre.
The Fire Walk event has been organised as part of the charity’s campaign to raise £3.9 million to extend the current facilities, double its capacity and provide a home for 20 more people living with a neurological diagnosis.
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Mr Russell’s participation is particularly poignant, given that he himself has recently been diagnosed with a Parkinson’s-like disorder.
He said: “I have been very active my whole life – my family were amazed that I started climbing Munros in my 60s and was still labouring well into my 80s.
“But since my diagnosis, I have been very frustrated because it has forced me to slow down. I am not able to do these things anymore.
“Simple things, such as tying my laces and getting from A to B take a lot longer than they used to do and I have lost a lot of my independence.
“But I know there are people in their 30s and 40s who are struggling with these cruel conditions and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for them. It must be very distressing.”
Mr Russell has visited Dee View Court and has resolved to do whatever he can to boost their endeavours.
He added: “I have been quite uplifted to find out about the work and care that goes on there and I am determined to raise funds for the expansion because nobody should have to face these life-changing conditions alone.
“The Fire Walk won’t be easy for me, especially as even walking is sometimes difficult these days, but I’m so happy that my family will be there with me to help me get to the other side.”
Further details can be found at www.sueryder.org/firewalk.
Anybody wishing to sponsor Mr Russell and his family should visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cara-gibson1?utm_id=25.