Words by Angela Clark
Photos by Caroline Finn & Stephen Durand
A six-year-old boy from Dalmuir walked the West Highland Way with his dad and raised over £2,000 for charity.
St Eunan’s Primary pupil, Ollie Durand, and his dad Stephen wanted to walk the 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William as a personal achievement.
After chatting they decided it would be a great way to raise some money for Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels (OKFP) where they both volunteer.
Stephen said: “We put the idea to Maureen at OKFP and she was delighted, then everything happened so fast. A Go Fund Me page was set up and then we were away.”
A friend set off with them but because of the harsh conditions decided it was too much for him on their first night.
Stephen said: “We started with three of us, the first night we camped it was a rubbish tent and we woke up in pools of water.
“My mate had enough and left.
“The money had started pouring in through the Go Fund Me, so I said to Ollie we cannae quit, we need to keep going, and I used that to push him to continue.
To be fair he never said once he didn’t want to go on.”
Friends Along the Way
The duo formed a close friendship with a father and son from Wales who were taking on the challenge to raise funds for their local football club.
Stephen said: ‘We met them at Rowardennan. They arrived at the destination at the same time as us.
“Neither of us knew where we were going to camp due to restrictions.
“We managed to get a lodge for a third of the price because we were doing it for charity, and we just stayed together.
“It made the rest of the journey easier because we could bounce off each other and the boys were chatting and walking.”
As well as talking to people from Germany, France and various countries in Africa, the meeting which left a deep impression was with a young Brazilian boy.
Ollie said: “We met him on the path and while we were talking, he told me he supported Brazil so he was really happy when I gave him my Celtic football top.”
Ollie had also received a gift of a tartan hat from his Dad’s friend before they set off and he asked every single person he met along the way to sign it.
His Dad said: “Not one person refused to sign it, we wanted to take it back to the foodbank and leave it there as a memory of what Ollie had achieved.”
A visit to OKFP to help over the Christmas period had motivated the pair to raise funds for the charity.
Whilst young Ollie helped make up the kids’ parcels and stock the pantry, his Dad helped with the deliveries.
Stephen added: “We were regular visitors and got to know Maureen and the other volunteers and we loved it, the stuff they do is amazing and these people have become like family.”
The pair plan to do Hadrian’s Wall sometime this year with the family they met from Wales, though there will be less pressure as they won’t be fundraising this time.
Stephen added: “This whole experience has strengthened our bond and it teaches my son that not everyone is privileged or has got the same opportunities.”
Everyone who knows what Ollie achieved is so proud of the young boy.
Raising Funds, Raising Stocks
Maureen Cummings, director of OKFP and Chatty Cafe said: “We ran out of food last month for the first time ever and that’s what spurred Ollie and his Dad to do the fundraiser to help us.
“It will enable us to buy stuff that we don’t have.
“Lately we are getting asked a lot for milk and dairy products that we never had before.
“So, this means we can keep the fridge fully stocked with the money raised.
“It has been a godsend and has been a great help to us.
“He is a wee legend – five days to walk 96 miles is fantastic. We had a heroes’ welcome for them when they returned.”
If you want to help raise funds or provide donations for OKFP send a message through Facebook or call 07916310806.
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