A Tayside woman is putting her best foot forward to raise some much needed cash for charity during the coronavirus lockdown.
Val Gill, 45, has challenged herself to “virtually” walk the 233 miles from Perth to John O’Groats in just 14 days to raise money for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), based at Perth Airport.
By walking round her garden, on her treadmill and near her home in the grounds of the airport each day, Val has already covered 90 virtual miles in just five days.
She said: “I am walking in the garden, on a treadmill and on walks near where I live.
“In the mornings I am walking in the garden – the neighbours must think I am an idiot – and in the afternoon I am going out for my outdoor walk.
“It is a lot of walking, and I’m not going to lie, I am quite tired and in a bit of pain already, because I am really putting the effort and the work in.
“I was a bit apprehensive about it, but I am determined to carry this through.”
Val said she wanted to set herself a challenge during the lockdown to keep fit and keep on top of her mental health.
She continued: “I am not a fit person and I am overweight, but I do like to walk.
“I work at Perth High School in the office so I have a desk job, but I normally go for a walk at breaktime and lunchtime as it is nice to clear the head.
“When we went into lockdown I was starting to get quite down because I was away from my work and my friends and family and my mental health was starting to suffer, so I thought ‘I need to do something’.
“Reflecting on that, I thought I love walking and I need to get myself out of this slump I am falling into.
“I decided to do a sponsored walk, but I needed to make it challenging – if it is easy, there is no point.”
So far, Val has raised £350 for SCAA, which she says is a vital lifeline in the community: “The air ambulance receives no government funding, it is purely a charity.
“It cost something like £2.5 million a year to run the ambulance, but if you are in a rural area and have an accident, you have two choices – the air ambulance, which can get you to hospital in 20 minutes, or a regular ambulance, which will get you there in three hours and 20 minutes.”
“That time is critical for someone who is seriously injured.”
Nick Harvey, fundraising and communications director at SCAA, said the charity was thrilled with Val’s efforts.
He said: “Val’s support for SCAA is absolutely brilliant.
“A virtual walk from our air ambulance base at Perth Airport to John O’Groats is a fun and healthy activity to do while we area all locked down.
“The money that Val raises will help us to continue our lifesaving work – providing more care, to more people, more quickly.
“We are hugely grateful for her commitment and encourage others to follow Val’s lead and support her on her fundraising quest or perhaps to undertake a fundraising event of their own.”
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