A legend in the world of mountain rescue has become patron of a Moray charity which uses outdoor adventure to transform lives.
David ‘Heavy’ Whalley spent his entire career rescuing people from some of Scotland’s most hostile environments.
Now he wants to use that experience to help Lossiemouth-based charity Outfit Moray in its work bringing the great outdoors into people’s lives.
Yesterday the retired RAF officer said: “The work this charity is doing is phenomenal. It is a Moray charity doing so much for the local community.
“It gets kids outdoors and gives them a chance to learn all kinds of activities.
“But it is not just young people that benefit. The charity was working with a couple of ladies recovering from heart attacks and giving them the confidence to ride bikes again.
“What they are doing is super.”
During his time in the RAF, Mr Whalley, who lives in Burghead, was involved in hundreds of air and sea accidents, attending just about every high-profile tragedy, including the Lockerbie disaster, in Scotland since the 1970s.
The experienced climber, who spent many years based at RAF Kinloss, was the son of a Church of Scotland minister, whose parents introduced him to the mountains from a young age.
He said: “I was very lucky that my mum and dad took me out because I always enjoyed the outdoors.
“It teaches you skills you can’t use anywhere else – skills that you need to survive.”
Mr Whalley said the best thing about working in mountain rescue had been working with “such a great bunch of people” and that the worst had been going to the small town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.
He recalled: “I have seen lots of stuff but I have never seen anything like that before.
“It was just unreal.”
Outfit Moray’s chief executive Ian Rideout said it was an honour to have Mr Whalley on board.
Mr Whalley’s first task in helping raise funds for the charity will be to speak at the first of a series of Spirit of Adventure evenings to be held at Findhorn’s Universal Hall on February 27.
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