An Aberdeen gran has celebrated her 70th birthday by checking off a mammoth list of charity challenges.
Marion Douglas, of Mastrick, hoped to complete 70 different goals before her milestone birthday on Tuesday in aid of the charity she says changed her life, Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust (AFCCT).
The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-five drew her year of challenges to a close with a dream trip alongside the Blue Angels Motorcycle Club, travelling down Union Street and ending at Marion’s beloved Pittodrie Stadium. She credits the charity for keeping her active and having fun.
Marion said: “It would be so easy to not get out when you live in a high-rise building.
“The AFCCT started these health walks to get more people active and out of their homes.
“This was in 2013 and I have been a part of it for five years. I also started volunteering for the Over 65 Get Outdoors group.”
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Her goals throughout the year ranged from the every day – such as trying sushi or a deep fried Mars bar – to the more adventurous such as getting a kiss from Dons star Shay Logan and attempting to sit on every seat at Pittodrie.
Marion, who has so far raised £449.83 through her challenges, said: “I could never have imagined how much fun I’d be having at 70 years of age. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of not getting out much, especially when you live in a high-rise building.
“I just didn’t want to be sitting inside wishing I’d done more or regretting missed opportunities. I just think there is no point saying no, age is really only just a number.
“I’m making up for lost time.
Some tasks proved more difficult than others as construction work at the Dons’ stadium prevented Marion from fully achieving her goal.
She said: “I wasn’t able to sit on every seat at the grounds due to work going on, but I sat in every seat I was allowed to and managed to tick off 9,386. That challenge definitely dragged on a bit because it took too long, but it was good of the Dons to let me do it.
“Riding with the Blue Angels was absolutely awesome, I wasn’t scared at all and I was even told I was a very good passenger. I’d do it again in a minute.”
Marion took her admiration for her local team to another level when she ticked off another life goal – getting a tattoo.
The former Aberdeen Royal Infirmary receptionist said: “I got the AFCCT logo for my first tattoo, which is on my arm. I got a second tattoo of the lyrics to Paolo Nutini’s Last Request. We are trying to get his attention on Twitter to see a picture of it now. If he saw it … you would have to pick me up off the floor.”
Marion’s efforts were noticed in a popular city event after Celebrate Aberdeen founder Morven Mackenzie asked her to lead the parade last month.
She said: “I really didn’t see expect that. I led the parade with my 13-year-old grandson Noah, who has special needs. We were both over the moon.”
Despite now reaching her milestone birthday, Marion shows no sign of slowing down on her charity challenges.
The gran added: “I don’t think I’ll stop doing challenges – I’ve already planned to do a tandem parachute drop in Dundee.
“My family are not even surprised anymore, they just go along with it. I can’t pick a favourite challenge so far – I’m just taking it all in my stride,” said Marion.
AFCCT chief executive Ally Prockter said: “Marion is an outstanding volunteer and key ambassador for AFCCT and we’re extremely proud of the efforts she’s making to support the work of the charity. We’d like to thank her for dedicating this special challenge to AFCCT and for the brilliant support she offers the organisation throughout the year.”
Some of Marion’s charity challenges
- Learn to swim
- Get a tattoo
- Sit on every seat in Pittodrie
- Drink a Jagerbomb
- Be Donny the sheep
- Play darts against Rapid Ricky Evans
- Rally driving
- Drive a Ferrari
- Get a kiss from Shay Logan
- Get a fireman’s lift
- Put inspirational quotes on Union Street bridge
- Get noticed online by Paolo Nutini
- Feed the homeless
- Host a show on hospital radio
- Go on a motorbike ride with the Blue Angels Motorcycle Club