Family says charity’s support for north-east teen Finlay ‘mind-blowing’

Football-mad Finlay Sangster
Football-mad Finlay Sangster

A north-east charity which helps raise funds for a 13-year-old with cerebral palsy has celebrated its 10th year.

Finlay’s Fund marked the milestone at the weekend at its biggest event – the Stoney Stroll.

Football-daft Finlay Sangster from Stonehaven has had a busy year in which he transitioned from Mill O’Forest primary school to Mackie Academy.

His condition means he has to use a wheelchair at all times.

The Stoney Stroll marked the fund’s 10th anniversary

His parents, Gail and Bruce Sangster, started the Stoney Stroll in their home town in 2012 as a way to raise cash for Finlay’s Fund.

The fund was set up by the couple to help cover the costs of their son’s care, therapy and equipment.

Since then the charity has grown to have 12 committee members, more than 1,100 dedicated supporters and raised more than £100,000. The family has also grown to include younger brother Brodie, who is seven years old.

The Stoney Stroll returned on Saturday with more than 200 walkers taking part in one of three routes on offer, starting and ending at the Scout Hut.

Supporters in Stonehaven have watched the youngster grow up in the town.

Finlay got to ride to the airport in style

Gail said: “Finlay really has grown up with the fund. He loves being part of all the events we do and even before the Stoney Stroll he had said to me that he already knew what he was going to say.

“It all comes from him. What he feels in his heart about the fund and the people who help support it.

“It is phenomenal that we are celebrating 10 years. The support has grown every single year.

“We had taken a year off last year because we had to get Finlay ready to start the academy with lots of meeting with the schools.

“Everyone agreed we would take a year out from events so we could focus on Finlay.

“With taking the year off, we had a lot of people getting in contact with us, asking when the Stoney Stroll was because they missed the event.

“I think that is a testament to the kid Finlay is. People see him going about and they see how grateful he is for the support we receive.

“We get some mind-blowing support from people and we want to thank everyone.

“To celebrate 10 years is incredible.”

Some of those involved in Finlay’s Fund get together to mark its 10th birthday

Gail said the transition from primary to secondary school had been “superb” as Finlay is the first child with such complex physical needs to attend Mackie Academy.

She said: “The school did a lot of work including sorting out a toilet with a hoist system for him with teachers needing training on it.

“It has been a fantastic partnership. We have worked so closely with the school and Finlay is now doing so well educationally. I know he is well looked after and well thought of in the school community.

“The support we have had as parents from the school has been brilliant.”

The family has also had support from global businesses in the past.

In 2017 his family was surprised by British Airways as part of its BA Magic project, which aims to create special moments.

It involved the young Rangers supporter being whisked off to London to speak to a charity that would help create a specially adapted Xbox controller.

BA pilot Jonathan Knowlson showed up at Mill O’Forest in a Lamborghini to take him to the airport in style.

The project was complete when then-Rangers player and current Wigan striker Josh Windass turned up at the family home to personally deliver the Xbox to Finlay.

BA ensured there was some magic included for Gail and Bruce too, by surprising them with a holiday to New York – the city they had been desperate to return to for their upcoming wedding anniversary.

At the time, Gail said BA had gone above and beyond for the family.