A mystery donor stunned an Aberdeen father with a £6,000 gift as he prepares to run a marathon in memory of his late daughter.
The anonymous man made the pledge after reading about Russell Willox’s fundraising drive, with the story appearing in the Press and Journal.
Mr Willox, 38, will run the Edinburgh Marathon on May 31 in tribute to his daughter Sophie, who died suddenly last December aged just five-years-old.
He will raise funds for Voluntary Service Aberdeen as his son Milo, 7, who has autism, enjoys its summer playschemes which Sophie had also been due to attend.
Northing is known of the mystery sponsor, other than he lives in Aberdeenshire.
Now his generous offer will be split between the playschemes and VSA’s Friends for Life Club, which allows young people with serious learning disabilities to meet friends and enjoy a relaxed environment.
Mr Willox, 38, an IT analyst with ConocoPhillips, said news of the anonymous donation had put a spring in his step as he trains to become marathon fit.
He said: “When I heard, I was due to go out on a run and I would say it made training a bit easier that night.
“I am trying to keep a level head about the donation but it is an amazing amount of money. It’s a bit crazy.
“I am really happy if someone wants to sponsor me 50p.”
Mr Willox, who lives in Mannofield with his partner Kate, said he had been motivated to run the marathon to do “something positive” after his daughter’s death, adding that he hoped his efforts would make her proud.
Tests are ongoing to establish why Sophie suddenly died in her sleep.
While she was born with disabilities, she had been making good progress in the months before she died.
Since the anonymous donation, Mr Willox has upped his fundraising target to £10,000.
He said: “I first set it at £2,000 which seemed like a bit of a stretch but it was something to focus the mind on.
Debbie Fotheringham, Events and Fundraising Co-Ordinator at VSA, said: “We were delighted when the call came in from the anonymous donor, they wanted to make sure that the donation was put to areas of VSA where it was most needed. Our Friends for Life Clubs are entirely run on voluntary income and require around £50,000 per year to run.
The clubs are a life line to the families who use this service and this donation will help ensure that the clubs continue to run for this much needed service. “