Bo'ness Rugby have been brilliant supporters of ours, raising funds for the Foundation over the last 16 months. Here is their story, told in their own words:
Our initial plan was to climb Ben Nevis last year, however with the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic this quickly scarpered our plans. With rugby training and many other events cancelled, our fundraising efforts became our focus and the medium within which our team would stay in touch and continue have a shared goal. We all began brainstorming ways in which we could continue fundraising within the new Covid-19 guidelines.
Six Nations Challenge
With it only being possible to go outdoors for exercise and essential shopping, we decided to put our daily exercise to good use and virtually walk the distance to Ben Nevis and back from our pitch in Bo'ness. We didn't anticipate how quickly we would achieve this so we had to broaden the scope slightly. Our team decided to use our exercise to cover the distance between the Six Nations stadiums, on our way we received various shout-outs and encouragement from a variety of players from around the international rugby community with David Sisi, Leo Cullen, Jonny Petrie, Murray McCallum and your very own Scott Hastings all wishing us well as we passed the stadiums.
Pedalo 4 Doddie
It was often joked within our fundraising team as to how we would cross the distance between the Channel and Irish Sea, one member even bought a rowing machine for it. We decided to get in touch with the Helix Park to see if we could use their Pedalos, which were currently sitting dormant due to the Covid-19 restrictions at the time, to cover the distance in a single "Pedalo 4 Doddie" event. With their support we were able to organize a fantastic day with a few familiar faces taking to the water, notably Sean Lineen, Alex Moore, Iwan Tukalo and Happiness is Egg Shaped's own Bruce Aitchison. The event received fantastic coverage locally in the papers and radio stations throughout the day. We made a video to showcasing the clubs fundraising efforts shortly after which you can see here
Walk from Murrayfield
To finish off the final miles of this challenge we were looking for a good way to "cross the finish line" so to speak. Liaising with Murrayfield we were able to organize a final walk from Murrayfield back to Bo'ness, Sean Lineen met with us at Murrayfield to wave us off and wish us good luck as we made the 18 mile trek back to our pitch where many of our families, teammates, youth players and supporters were all waiting to cheer us home. Once again the event received fantastic coverage with updates going out on the local radio stations every hour with our progress, this led to many a beeping car horn cheering us on as we went.
Ben Nevis Challenge
Last weekend we were finally able to complete our challenge on the weekend of Doddies birthday. The team had been fundraising and training tirelessly and were very excited to finally get to Fort William for the big weekend. Both the local campsite and taxi company offered us discounted rates knowing it was for Doddie and were very accommodating with us. The climb itself was certainly a tough one, the hot and humid temperatures put a big strain on everyone's stamina but we pushed through and eventually made it to the top. One thing that surprised us was how emotional many of our players were to finally reach the top after such a long time, one of our players admitted it was the hardest physical challenge he had ever undertaken and had a moment to himself away from the group at the top, another player who had recently lost his mother took the opportunity to scatter her ashes at the top, this all made it a very emotional and personal moment for all our players and made it a day none of us will forget. One of our players made a video diary of the day here
After the challenge (following a quick dip in the river and shower to cool off all the aches and pains) we were welcomed into the opening arms of the Ben Nevis Distillery which really was one of the best ways to finish the challenge, everyone at the distillery was so accommodating and gave us a fantastic space to recall the last 16 months and to watch the Lions game whilst enjoying a few beers and drams courtesy of Brian and Jim.
Following all of this our fundraiser has now surpassed £6,000 and we plan to conclude our fundraising by taking part in Doddies Lions Super Saturday on the 24th of July with a fun event for the club and community to enjoy and hopefully raise our total a bit more.