MORE than 200 charities received a massive cash boost today after the £300,000-plus raised by the Dundee Virtual Kiltwalk was doubled to more than £600,000 by Scots philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter.
Dundee walkers were urged to don their tartan and take part in a weekend-long virtual event after the original Kiltwalk was unable to take place amid the coronavirus crisis.
Participants were challenged to get active, whilst adhering to social distancing measures, and raise funds for charities of their choice. Many charities are struggling to survive after losing income to COVID-19.
In a video message posted, Sir Tom said he was so blown away by the efforts of the 1,152 Kiltwalkers who took part that he decided to increase his pledge of a 50% top-up to 100% – matching their fundraising pound for pound.
Sir Tom said:
“I realise that many charities are in desperate straits because so many events have been wiped out by the COVID pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. And charities are struggling to help people who need support like never before. When I saw great people going out in all weather over the weekend walking, cycling, kayaking and more for what they care about, I knew The Hunter Foundation wanted to match these efforts pound for pound.
“The extraordinary generosity of people in Scotland at a time of real challenge just sums up Scotland for me – a nation of people who care for one another; we can’t lose that spirit going forward.
“Thanks so much to you, for coming out, for getting involved and raising money for the folks that need it most. Thank you so much for your Kiltwalk Kindness.”
Kiltwalk chief executive, Paul Cooney, said:
“As we continue to move through lockdown, hundreds of charities up and down the country are experiencing real turmoil, facing redundancies, reduction of vital services, and in most cases, facing an acute loss of revenue.
“Our trusty Dundonians didn’t disappoint us and we saw Kiltwalkers marching in their gardens, cycling in their local areas and doing their bit to help the organisations close to their hearts. Sir Tom’s generosity will go a long way in supporting Scotland’s charities during a time when they really need it.”
Among the local charities that will benefit are the Be More Ruby charity, established to fund research into the rare cancer that took the life of six-year-old Ruby Stewart from Perth earlier this year, which received £21,000 after the £10,500 raised by walkers was doubled.
A Dundee foodbank will be helping more families after The Hunter Foundation boosted the £770 raised by three walkers to £1,500. And several wheelchair users from the Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club, formed in 2013 to offer active-wheelchair sport in Tayside, covered five miles of the event to raise £1,1000 which has now been topped up to £2,200.
To date in 2020, Kiltwalkers in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, despite not being able to walk together as planned, have raised more than £1.2 million for charities of their choice, with The Hunter Foundation doubling this sum to £2.4 million and helping 904 charities all over Scotland.
For further information about the Kiltwalk visit www.thekiltwalk.co.uk.