A group of intrepid Dons fans are set to take on a trek across the country in aid of the AFC Community Trust.
Eight Reds-supporting businessmen, as well as AFC director Duncan Skinner and community trust founder Ally Prockter, are aiming to raise £10,000 through the Coast to Coast walk next week.
Beginning on the west coast in Fort William, the group will walk for six days before the final day’s cycle into the Granite City.
Beginning on Sunday, they will cover a total of 183 miles, stopping at various points along the route including Aviemore, Braemar and Ballater.
It is not the first time the group have taken on a walking challenge, having completed the West Highland Way in 2017 and the Speyside Way in 2018.
So far their challenges have raised more than £13,500 for the community trust.
However, this year’s challenge is the biggest they have taken on so far – both in terms of distance and fundraising target.
The event has been organised by Dons fan Mark Wilson.
He said: “We are hoping the additional mileage and pain for us in this year’s walk will help us get the support we need to reach our target of £10k of much-needed funds.
“As always, we can’t do this on our own, so have to thank the guys again for signing up for another year.”
Eric Harper, who took part in last year’s Speyside Way event, said: “A few years ago, I got asked if I wanted to get involved in a charity walk with the proceeds going to the AFC Community Trust.
“After seeing the excellent work that AFCCT do within the local community, I jumped in with both feet.
“Over the years, I have raised money for many different charities, but what really stood out for me is the way that the trust go about making positive life changes to the local folk of the north-east and the relentless enthusiasm the trust staff and volunteers have in helping.
“On the final night of last year’s Speyside Way charity walk, we discussed how we could take this year’s charity event even further – so the Coast the Coast trek idea was hatched, probably after a few too many beers.
“It will make the previous year’s charity challenges seem like a walk in the park.”
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The money raised by the walk will help the community trust organise a number of events to help those in need in the community – including people with dementia and those battling mental ill-health.
The trust’s community lottery and fundraising officer Debra Christia said: “The Coast to Coast Walk will be the biggest challenge Mark and the other fundraisers have faced so far.
“Mark has supported AFCCT through his involvement in the AFCCT annual dinner committee for the last three years, and has been the main co-ordinator of the walks.
“After the success of the Speyside Walk and West Highland Way in 2017-18, raising a combined total of over £13,500 for AFCCT, Mark knew the fundraising plans had to be bigger and better this year.
“We appreciate Mark’s time and support that he gives to AFCCT and wish the group well in their walk as well as the fundraising. Let’s reach that £10,000 target!”
AFCCT’s partnership and business development manager Robbie Hedderman added: “The money raised from the Coast to Coast Walk will go towards mental health wellbeing programmes.
“These include the dementia friendly health walks, technogym, community programmes, and the Boogie in the Bar social inclusion programme.
“We create such life-changing experiences through these programmes which we simply could not deliver without our volunteers’ and fundraisers’ support.
“I’d like to thank the group of businessmen in Aberdeen for taking part in what will be a massive challenge to raise funds and help increase awareness of AFCCT, and hopefully encourage others to take on a challenge in support of us also.”
The full group consists of Eric Harper, Lee Brandie, Iain Landsman, Mark Wilson, Rob Geddes, Darren Gray, Duncan Skinner, Gary Walker, Jonathan Cheyne and Ally Prockter.
To donate to the group’s fundraising effort, visit https://bit.ly/2Kg8QqL