Organisers, supporters and volunteers gathered in Inverness yesterday for a ceremony to celebrate the achievements of this year’s Highland Cross event - and discover the total amount brought in by the annual duathlon.
A record £277,189 was raised by the runners and riders who took part in The Highland Cross, a50-mile duathlon (20 miles on foot, 30 miles on bike) traversing the spectacular Scottish Highlands coast to coast, west to east from Kintail through Glen Affric and Strathglass to Beauly. That’s a cumulative total of £4.4 million raised for the Highlands in the event’s 34-year history.
Birchwood Highland’s Deputy Chief Executive, Annabel Mowat, gratefully accepted a cheque for £45,000 on behalf of the charity, which will fund a vital new social space at the charity’s Recovery Centre in Inverness. The charity, which is at the leading edge of mental health recovery, owns and manages Scotland’s only centre dedicated to assisting people to take control of their lives and move forward in the face of enduring mental health issues.
Annabel said: “This fantastic donation will make a huge difference to the lives of the people we support at the Recovery Centre. Significant and enduring mental health issues can be a real barrier to what a lot of folks take for granted - what sounds like simple things such as sitting talking to others, sharing opinion, eating meals together – can be so important. When we first thought how vital some additional social space was for us, we then considered the cost… it seemed like many, many years away… so to say we are delighted to have had a successful application is to understate how we feel. Residents and staff alike are really chuffed.”
Work has already begun on the new sun lounge at the Recovery Centre and it is hoped the vital space will be ready to use by early 2018, with the Highland Cross team as special guests at the opening ceremony.
This year six charities received a cash injection by The Highland Cross and one of its organisers, Calum Munro, was delighted to reveal that a further seven charities will benefit now that the final figure has been tallied.
Speaking to the gathered supporters and volunteers, Calum said: “The work you do makes the Highlands proud – you are amazing individuals.” Along with co-founder of the event Gerry Grant, Calum is the recipient of a shiny new MBE for their efforts. He added: “This is for the team - without your commitment, sweat, time, leave from work and lofts stacked full of Highland Cross stuff – we couldn’t do it. I will wear it with immense pride, but I will wear it for you.”