Charities unite for evening stroll up the Ben

Representatives of 10 charities prepare to set off on an evening walk up Ben Nevis. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

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Representatives of 10 charities joined forces on Saturday night with a moonlit walk up Ben Nevis to show support for families of babies and children who were taken too soon.

The evening was a truly powerful one as more than 100 people joined in friendship for a shared goal and emotion filled the air as the lost children were remembered.

Michael McGuire was inspired following his walk up Ben Nevis in 2019. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

Big Steps for Small Feet was an inspirational vision that Fort William’s Michael McGuire, co-founder of Anam Cara Fasgadh, had a number of years ago to commemorate his son Kyle.

Michael climbed Ben Nevis on June 28, 2019, a week after Father’s Day and with that climb, as he watched the sun rise, the beginnings of the idea began to form.

Michael’s vision was to see charities and organisations work together to bring those they support together to walk and talk in mutual understanding as they took in the sunrise on the Ben.

Though the wet and windy weather was certainly not part of his original plan, the general consensus was that everyone got much more out of the event than organisers could have imagined.

Following the trek, which saw his vision come to fruition, Michael spoke to the walkers who stood united during an emotional address.

‘Small feet truly leave the biggest imprint in our hearts,’ he said.

‘We can’t thank the participants enough for showing such care towards bereaved families and for raising valuable funds for 10 incredible charities at the same time.

‘A huge thank you also to the charities involved. It’s been two years in the planning and as well as it being a privilege to work alongside such a great team, we’ve formed friendships alongside it too.’

Star for Harris team members joined a number of charities in a night time walk up Ben Nevis to raise money for their good causes and remember babies and young children who were lost to various illnesses. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

Fort William-based charity STAR for Harris joined the walk with Allan Ross, Gerry Halas, Patricia MacKay, Emma MacSween, Shirley Duncan, Siobhan Sharkey and Ben Cruickshank making up an incredible team of seven.

They set off just after 10pm, reaching the summit by 1am in truly challenging conditions. They arrived back down just after 4am, all still together as a team, all still smiling and joking and full of stories. Even in the rain and wind, they managed to complete a pre-planned TikTok to ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’ to wish the Scotland team good luck.

Michael continued: ‘Saturday’s event was two years in the making, bringing together 10 children’s charities all with a common goal of saving lives.

‘Big steps for small feet was a bespoke collaboration that was an opportunity for many to come together, form new friendships and raise vital awareness.

‘It’s been a tough 18 months for so many. Hopefully the love and determination of those who lit up Ben Nevis might just have inspired others never to give up.’

Other charities taking part were  Child Bereavement UK; Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity; SANDS Lothians; Bliss; Tommy’s; The Lullaby Trust; Twins Trust; Together for Short Lives.