Margaret Payne, the stair-climbing pensioner who raised hundreds of thousands for charity during the pandemic, has died aged 93.
The Ardvar, Sutherland resident raised the money by virtually scaling a local mountain Suilven, which stand 731 metres tall, by climbing the stairs in her house.
In total, she raised £436,000 for the NHS, the Highland Hospice and the RNLI.
She drew inspiration to complete the challenge from Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised more than £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden.
In a post to Facebook, her daughter Nicky McArthur paid tribute to her mother.
She wrote: “My gorgeous humble mother flew away this evening to join Jim in the hils’s of Scotland, her spiritual home. She left with dignity and grace and will be sadly missed by all who knew her.
“Her soft spoken way, alongside a clever wit made her a wonderful mother. Thank you all for your kind messages over the past three weeks which have not been easy.”
Margaret Payne was a ‘lockdown legend’
The Highland Hospice, one of the recipients of Margaret Payne’s fundraising, paid tribute, describing her as a “lockdown legend.”
A spokesperson for Highland Hospice said: “It is with great sadness we note the passing of Margaret Payne yesterday evening.
“During those first few months of Covid in the spring of 2020, then 90-year-old Margaret climbed the height of Suilven on her stairs raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity and capturing people’s hearts.
“Margaret was a lockdown legend, but her long and extraordinary life took in so much more. We will be forever grateful to her and her late husband Jim for their support and our thoughts are with Nicky McArthur and all her family at this time.
“Keep climbing Margaret.”
Back in 2020, Margaret Payne received a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Lochinver.
Speaking previously with the Press & Journal, she described the award as “a great honour.”
She said: “I took a long time to do it and I was worried I mightn’t get there, but I did.
“It was disheartening at first when the money wasn’t really coming through but as soon as it started up, it was a big incentive.”
She also received a letter of congratulations from the then-Prince of Wales.