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COVID-19 struck such fear into chronic asthmatic Alison Rennie that she decided to get fit in case the virus hit.
Now the 70-year-old has turned her daily exercise walking up Battleship Hill near her Oban home into a fundraiser for the town’s lifeboat station.
Alison, who is secretary of the Oban RNLI Lifeboat fundraising branch, is on a mission to raise £1,000 and has set up a justgiving page to do it.
With arthritic knees, climbing mountains would be impossible but she has worked out a way of climbing Everest, the slow way.
Setting off at 7.30am every day, Alison has already climbed the equivalent of over 4,000m since lockdown and, due to reach the height of Everest’s base camp by May 6, expects to make the summit by May 31.
‘I’d never get up Everest but doing it in bite-size pieces I can notch up the same even though it’s walking rather than climbing,’ said Alison who is feeling the health benefits and is going to keep it up after COVID.
She is hoping her efforts now will help fill some of the funding gap being created by coronavirus cancelling lots of events volunteers would normally be busy – it is also time for the RNLI’s national Mayday campaign.
‘If I can get some supporters to encourage me by making a donation to Oban Lifeboat I can generate some funds for the RNLI in a difficult year!
‘As a charity, the RNLI depends on donations so it can go on saving lives and keeping us and our loved ones safe,’ said Alison.
Oban Lifeboat is one of the busiest all-weather lifeboats in Scotland and has been serving the community since 1972 rescuing people and vessels in distress, promoting water safety, acting as medical emergency transport from the local islands and even sometimes as a maternity ward.
The all-weather lifeboat station can cost in the region of £215,000 to run per year.
‘Please help me get up every morning and help the RNLI to be there for all of us.
‘I guess we all know that many charities are struggling with their income but few are also expected to deliver an emergency service and continue to maintain complex equipment ready for instant deployment,’ she added.
Alison’s justgiving page is at justgiving.com/funding/alison4obanlifeboat
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Oban and other volunteer crews have been asked to stay away from their lifeboat stations unless it is critical. Staff mechanics still carry out maintenance work but crews only assemble if their pagers go off.
The charity is urging people not to use the water for their daily exercise, a recent shout in Argyll was to help find lost walkers.
Michael Avril, regional water safety lead for Scotland, said: ‘If our crews are paged, it means they have to break social distancing, putting themselves and their families at risk.’