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Fundraiser falls short of target

By Caroline McMorran

A veteran soldier who kayaked round the sea equivalent of NC500 in aid of an armed forces charity, says he is disappointed at the amount raised.

Wick native Lieutenant Richard McKenzie (59) had hoped to raise at least £50,000 for SSAFA but to date has taken in just £730 on his Justgiving page.

“I am a bit disappointed. We actually made a little over £1 a mile and we were anticipating a lot more,” he admitted. “A large number of people sent well wishes but did not take the next step of donating.”

Fort George based Lt McKenzie, the Army Protection Officer for The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was sponsored by Pulteney Distillery and supported during the journey by long time friend Ronnie Dunnet of Helmsdale, a former Royal Marine Commando, who followed in a support vehicle. The pair started and finished the challenge at Wick, setting out on July 17 and returning last Monday, August 5.

The route largely followedNC500 but an extra leg, comprising 100 miles, was added to cut inland through the Caledonian Canal. The journey went smoothly, although midges descended in droves at one point and fog was also disorienting.

But Lt McKenzie, who ran Brora Army Cadets for a time, is heartened by the success of a second fundraising initiative he launched. His Justgiving crowdfunding page in aid of the cadet services in the Highlands has taken in £1490.

“I can only thank the people of the Highlands for their generosity,” he said. “The crowdfunder raised twice as much as my Justgiving appeal.”

He is not letting his disappointment stand in the way of undertaking another fundraiser and is already planning a second challenge, also to be supported by Pulteney Distillery.

In the meantime, both current fundraisers are remaining open until October and donations can be made online at Justgiving using the search terms ‘Old Tmers Haul Ass’ and ‘Cadet Services in the Highlands'.

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