James Connolly and Duncan Hepburn to undertake epic charity walk

James Connolly and Duncan Hepburn are training for the 215km walk across Scotland for charity.

Celltherm Coldrooms’ business development manager James Connolly is teaming up with FCSI consultant, Duncan Hepburn, of Hepburn Design and Carilo Limited, to trek 215km across Scotland, from the west to the east coast.

Setting off over the Easter holidays, the walk is likely to take up to 10 days. The pair will be raising funds for a Glasgow-based charity, the Brightest Star, set up in memory of a 5-year-old boy, Jack Kennedy, who died from a rare virus just 6 days short of his sixth birthday. They will also be joined by Northumbria Walking Group colleagues, Anne Brunniche and Rebecca Hampson.

Hepburn is no stranger to long walks, having completed the Three Peaks challenge in aid of another charity a couple of years ago with another group of industry colleagues.

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Connolly, a keen rambler, received an invitation to a charity ball in Glasgow late last year and was taken aback by the huge effort that was put together to raise money for worthy causes by the Accident & Emergency, Ambulance and Paramedic services of all the Glasgow Hospitals. This included the Casualty Cup Charity, a five-a-side tournament which was founded and run since 2014 by Charlie McCarthy – a senior staff A&E nurse and football fanatic.

Karen Tait, a senior A&E staff nurse and one of the main organisers of the Casualty Cup’s annual charity ball, said: “We have raised thousands of pounds for worthy causes which rarely get the large funding that national charities attract. We are delighted James and his colleagues can help with not just the funding but raising awareness for the Brightest Star Charity’s services that’s available to all families who suffer untold heartache associated with loss of a child or loved one.”

The Brightest Star charity was founded and run by Arlene (Jack’s mum) and the charity offers bereavement counselling, first aid training and memory boxes to hospitals and families, along with attempting to raise over £200,000 for a specially adapted ambulance, which can be equipped to carry the parents of seriously ill children if there’s a requirement for transfer between hospitals. Arlene said that this is one of the primary aims of the charity, as her final time with Jack was tragically shortened when they were separated from one another while Jack was transferred to Edinburgh, due to a shortage of children’s hospital beds in the Glasgow area.

Connolly and his team will be taking the route of the ‘John Muir Way’, a 215km walk across the central belt in Scotland from Helensburgh in the west to Dunbar in the east. This walk has just gained recognition as one of Scotland’s Great Trails and Connolly is also looking to raise awareness for the John Muir Trust, which campaigns for the protection of the wilderness and open spaces all over Britain.

A spokesperson for the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, which is responsible for promoting the John Muir Way, commented: “The John Muir Way was designed to be a route accessible to all, regardless of ability and experience, and to inspire people to take an interest in nature and the outdoors. It’s always great to hear from walkers and cyclists about their own particular journeys and adventures on the route.

“This is a fantastic challenge by James and his team and we wish them the best of luck in their efforts to raise funds for their chosen charity, Brightest Star.”

Connolly has opened a BT Donate Fundraising page. To donate, click HERE.

He is also calling for industry colleagues to join his team for a day’s walking. He added: “You can’t count on the weather but we walk in hope of seeing at least one Brightest Star!”

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