Exceptional Efforts Boost Charity Funds

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland's generosity in supporting charities of all kinds has been convincingly demonstrated by a series of summer events.

September saw the announcement of the final total for what is undoubtedly Shetland's largest fund-raiser, the Relay for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK. The relay was held overnight on 31 May and 1 June and the many hundreds who took part were delighted to learn that they had raised a grand total of £306,560.76. That makes Shetland's Relay for Life the most successful event of its kind in Europe, let alone the UK, which is a remarkable achievement given that the islands" population is just over 22,000.

A number of other events were held during the month.

Bressay Sound – the stretch of water which separates the island of Bressay from Lerwick – was the scene of another fund-raiser, when 17 swimmers made the crossing from Bressay to the town's harbour. They were raising money for CLIC Sargent, the Lerwick lifeboat and NHS Shetland and the total had reached well over £17,000 by late September. There are more details, and lots of photographs, on the swimmers" Facebook page, where you can also find out how to donate, and there's a swimmer's view of the crossing in this video.

Ben Nevis was the setting for an astonishing effort by Craig Smaaskjaer, whose six-year old nephew, James Hawick, has a rare blood disorder, aplastic anaemia, and needs a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Craig's campaign aimed to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust, which maintains a register of bone marrow donors, and to encourage people to register to donate bone marrow in the hope that a match for James might be found. Craig succeeded in his task of climbing Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, seven times in seven days and more than 600 people have volunteered as donors. Donations are still being accepted at Craig's JustGiving page and, at the time of writing, the total was approaching £14,000.

Meanwhile, ten employees of one of the firms involved in work at the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal walked from Unst, Shetland's northernmost island, to Sumburgh, at the southern limit of Shetland's mainland. The eighty-mile journey took just under 34 hours, with only the briefest of pauses en route to take on food and drinks. They were aiming to raise funds for cancer and leukaemia charities and their donation page is also still available.

Those, it must be stressed, are just a few of the fund-raising events held recently.

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