Disability fundraising pair ready to conquer West Highland Way

He has already taken part in a number of escapades for Disability Shetland, but Sandy Peterson is not going to bring an end to his fundraising efforts just yet.

The daring adventurer is joining forces with Bressay man Kenny Groat. Together, they plan to tackle the West Highland Way – all 96 miles of it, from Milngavie, near Glasgow, to Fort William.

The two are hoping to raise some much-needed cash for the registered charity, which has fallen victim to funding cuts in the recent past. Their aim is to reach a Just Giving £3,000 target, although they hope other donations will help top that up to at least £4,000.

Mr Groat, a Bressay ferry man, said his daughter Alana had benefited hugely from the work carried out by the organisation. She was once a regular at the Saturday clubs run by Disability Shetland, and is still, aged 26, an avid member of the swimming club. Mr Groat was so glad of the help his family had received, he decided to give something back. He will undertake the challenge on 26th May.

Mr Peterson jumped at the chance to do it, too.

Every penny the pair raise will go directly to help fund adult sports clubs run by the org­anisation.

“I’ve always wanted to do the walk myself and I thought it would be a good idea to do the walk, but raise money for Disability Shetland,” said Mr Groat, who serves as board chairman.

Sandy and Kenny
Sandy Peterson and Kenny Groat.          Photo: Dave Donaldson

“I joined Disability Shetland in September last year. Disability Shetland, like a lot of charities and groups in Shetland, is finding itself under hardship due to financial constraints in funding from the council and charitable trust.”

Mr Groat said he visited the Highlands or the west of Scotland every year. But completing the major trek has long been on his wish-list of things to do.

“People have bucket lists, but I feel I have a ‘skip list’,” he added.

Joking aside, Mr Groat insists he has seen first-hand the benefit Disability Shetland can have on people and families.

“We’ve seen benefits of Disability Shetland with my daughter in the past.

“When I was having to work every hour of the day it gave my daughter a lot of encouragement. In years gone by there wasn’t much help for disabled bairns. But we were very lucky. Bairns have had a lot of enjoyment, and it gives a lot of families time to themselves, which they weren’t getting before.”

Mr Groat said he had been walking around Bressay a lot in preparation for the trip, and had received a lot of encouragement from people while on his travels.

“It’s been good because I’ve seen parts of the isle I’ve never seen before.”

Mr Peterson, a Disability Shetland trustee, said he was also looking forward to the challenge. He has never done the West Highland Way, although he has climbed a number of the mountains on the route and is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with some of the wild parts of Scotland.

“It’s 96 miles, from Milngavie to Fort William,” he said.

While that might sound ambitious, madcap adventures are nothing new to Mr Peterson. In January The Shetland Times reported how the veteran campaigner had brought in New Year at the top of Ronas Hill – after walking there from Lerwick in 24 hours.

Mr Peterson undertook the 40-mile challenge in the dead of winter, and raised over £5,000.
“I’ve concluded the more stupid you are the more money you get.”

But he said it was all for a good cause, and that children and adults who attended clubs run by the body benefited from it.

If you would like to support the cause log onto https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/disability-shetland/highland. The walk is due to begin on Thursday and finish on 1st June.


Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • May 21st, 2016 14:41

    I wish Sandy and Kenny all the best in their effort to raise funds for a very worthy cause. I hope your reach your target, and there is plenty left over to further the cause.

    Well done Sandy and Kenny.


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