Volunteers complete 100 mile charity challenge

Volunteers have spent the last week walking, cycling and rowing for Disability Shetland, trying to raise £10,000 this summer to boost the charity’s funds.

Their challenge was to cover 100 miles, which took them from Unst to Lerwick, and on Friday they completed this by rowing from Nesting to Lerwick. Then on Saturday their boat was welcomed into Hay’s Dock by members of Disability Shetland’s Lerwick Saturday clubs with their handmade banners and bunting.

The 100-mile challenge rowers arrive in Hay's Dock. Photo: Dave Donaldson
The 100-mile challenge rowers arrive in Hay’s Dock. Photo: Dave Donaldson

On their travels Sandy and Sheila Peterson and the other volunteers visited the clubs the charity runs throughout Shetland. “All the clubs had a welcoming party for us,” Mr Peterson said.

“We had a great week and got a great welcome everywhere. It felt extremely good and the people who work for us are absolute stars.”

Their trip raised awareness, and he added: “People know more about us now.”

The journey started last Saturday in Baltasound in calm but dull weather, and Sunday was also “good”, but Monday, when they cycled from Toft to North Roe in force seven winds, was difficult.

Tuesday was an easier day with a 10-mile cycle from North Roe to Urafirth. They then cycled and walked between Urafirth and Nesting – there is no club in Nesting, but that was where they started the rowing.

This, said Mr Peterson, was “really tough and fairly rough”, with an easterly wind. There were six rowers in the boat, plus a cox and one person resting at any given time, although “they spent most of their time bailing”.

Nevertheless they arrived safely.
Mr Peterson said less money coming in from external funders, together with council cuts, has meant that more emphasis is being put on local fundraising.

He said: “The generosity of Shetland people is without question.”

The charity received £16,000 worth of funding from the BBC Children in Need, but, he said, more was needed, and “dipping into our reserves is never a good situation”.

In May £3,000 was raised when 12-year-old Ryan Brannan was pushed up Fitful Head in his wheelchair, and there have been some other big donations. The amount raised the 100 Miles challenge is not known yet, but Mr Peterson said he hoped to raise the target £10,000.

Disablity Shetland helps disabled children and adults throughout the isles to reach their full potential, and has between 60 and 70 volunteers, mostly teenagers.


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