Small Scottish Borders Town Making Huge Effort for Children’s Hospital Charity

by Catriona Quinn

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

THE SMALL town of Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders has shown remarkable community spirit to raise funds for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).

It is estimated that the people of Eyemouth have collectively raised almost £6,000 for the charity in 2017 – a phenomenal figure for a town with a total population of only 3,500.

The fundraising efforts came after two of the town’s own youngsters, Isla and Aaron Purvis were treated at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, after being born with a rare congenital disorder called Adams-Oliver Syndrome which can cause abnormal skin development and malformation of the limbs.

It meant that their parents, Karen and Scott, got to experience first-hand, the vital work ECHC does for patients and their families and decided to give back by undertaking a series of fundraising challenges.

Karen faced two of her biggest fears by completing a sky dive and then diving with sharks, while Scott raised over £4,000 by completing the Stirling marathon and running the 5k, 10k and half marathon in Edinburgh in May.

Scott said: “This is just our way of giving something back to the charity which has provided our family with incredible support.

“The staff are always friendly, they look after the children so well and have given us peace of mind when the kids have been staying overnight by providing parent stay over facilities.”

Both children required surgical procedures and now have regular consultations, treatments and check-ups to monitor their condition.

The Purvis family have also been involved in organising an annual ceilidh in the town for the past five years, with all funds going to ECHC.

Grandfather of Isla and Aaron and father of Scott, John Purvis has also risen to the challenge as part of a local Eyemouth singing group called The Podlies.

The group have recorded CDs and performed at events, where the profits have gone towards ECHC.

Nikki Robertson, of Ayton near Eyemouth, has also taken on the challenge of running two half marathons this year after successfully completing the Great North Run in 2017 and raising over £1300 for ECHC.

Nikki was told as a youngster that she might never walk properly due to a medical condition called hydrocephalus, and spent a great deal of her childhood in and out of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children for treatment.

Nikki said: “I’d never run a race as long as a half marathon before, and wanted to give back to the people who saved my life and achieve a personal goal at the same time.

“There’s no doubt that if it wasn’t for the treatment and care I received from the Sick Kids’ Hospital, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Nikki runs with Tweed Striders running club and has already started her training for the Edinburgh half marathon in May. She is also planning to complete the Great North Run again this year in September and is hoping to raise £1000 for ECHC.

Eyemouth Primary School and High School also both have ECHC as their charity of the year, with any event funds going towards helping other children to have a more positive hospital experience.

The local swimming club made a phenomenal effort in collectively swimming 52 miles in one night, equivalent to the distance between Eyemouth and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Jan Weeks, Eyemouth Swimming Club Fundraiser said: “All the members in the club got involved in the 52 mile swim, from kids as young as seven years old to the coaches who volunteer every week.

“We wanted to fundraise and raise awareness for ECHC who had supported one of our members and her family, Isla Purvis.”

The club, which has a total membership of 55, raised over £1500 in sponsorship for the charity.

Sue Diamond, Community Fundraising Manager for ECHC said: “We would like to thank everyone in Eyemouth who has made such an effort to fundraise for ECHC, in whatever way they can.

“The money raised makes an incredible difference to children in the hospital and helps them to be a child first and a patient second.

“We would be delighted to support both individuals and groups who wished to fundraise in the future to continue the fantastic work of the charity in transforming the hospital experience for children and young people.”

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