A north dance school has undertaken a fundraising challenge to aid injured veterans after their prime slot at the 50th Mey Highland games was cancelled due to Covid.
The Tanya Horne School of Highland Dance in Caithness has taken on the fundraising effort for Help for Heroes after being inspired by a team of injured veterans who competed in previous instalments of the gathering.
The games became the first in Scotland to introduce an adaptive element in 2018 when chieftain Prince Charles invited para-athletes from Help for Heroes to take part.
The team wowed the crowds – even breaking a world record in the process – and returned in 2019 after being blow away by the special atmosphere and location of the games.
The Help for Heroes team had been due to return this year for the 50th instalment before Covid hit.
The dance school’s students have now taken part in the Step2It challenge for the armed forces charity after feeling inspired by the participants.
Mrs Fryer nee Horne, the principal teacher of the Highland dance school, is preparing to reopen her Halkirk dance studio next month.
She said: “Lockdown provided quite a lot of different challenges for us all. So signing up to the 10,000 step challenge was a positive one, while keeping us active and out and about in the fresh air.
“Each year at the games we take part in our Highland dancing competition, with the Help for Heroes competitors in the ring next to us.
“Now more than ever we all need to support each other, as a school we always aim to be kind, work hard and support others even in the smallest possible way.”
Step 2 It asks participants to sign up at Step2It.helpforheroes.org.uk and do 10,000 steps, or a distance of their choice, each day for 30 days, getting sponsors to support their challenge.
Hannah Lawton, sports recovery manager at Help for Heroes, said: “Over the past few months, many people have found solace in exercising and keeping fit – and dancing is a great way to do this.
“But like many of our veterans, there are also those who have felt demotivated because of concerns and worries caused by the coronavirus, even though we all know that exercise makes us feel better.
“Our hope is that Step 2 It will give people across Scotland a goal to work to – either to motivate them to get back into exercise, or a reason to keep up new habits formed.
“By taking this big step for themselves, they won’t just be helping veterans, but will be doing themselves a favour too.”
The charity’s fitness challenge comes as research carried out by Help for Heroes among wounded, injured and sick veterans, serving personnel and families revealed that 56% are doing less exercise than normal since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with 39% saying that they don’t feel motivated to exercise.