At Random with Martin Laing

Martin Laing.

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Taking it in her stride

I bumped into Debbie Sheppard the other day, as she was striding purposefully along George Street heading north with her boyfriend David Nicol.

For those of you who don’t know her, Debbie is the charming joint host of the Lorne Whisky Pub and Kitchen in Stevenson Street. She also has MS, something I didn’t know until last week.

I mention this because Debbie’s march which I witnessed was part of a mission she is on to raise awareness of the condition and money for Oban’s MS Centre on Glencruitten Road by walking from the pub to Ganavan beach and back every day for 19 weeks.

That is, Debbie tells me, 7.5km (4.66 miles) a day, or 619 miles over the 19 weeks. If, like me, you wondered why 19 weeks, it is one week for every year since Debbie was diagnosed, and she will be doing this until November.

I should add here that I had to cajole Debbie into telling me all this as she is reticent about seeking the limelight. In fact, she has not sought sponsorship but is accepting donations.

As well as support from her partner David, the marathon effort has been backed by her dad Jim, who has joined her on some walks, and mum Eleanor, known for volunteering at Mary’s Meals in Oban.

It is, indeed, a splendid effort by one of my favourite people, and Debbie deserves all the backing the town can give her in this excellent charity effort. To make a donation, watch out for her walking to Ganavan and back every day, or drop into the pub and leave some coins. She’s worth it!

Pride and proud

This weekend sees the colourful Oban Pride, a series of free events that can be booked online, and which has been championed by Debbie Sheppard and the Lorne. It is, for me, a wee celebration well worth supporting.

It has its opponents, which I find disappointing, but we live in a welcoming, wonderful and diverse community, so let’s cheer it to the rafters.

What do you think? Send your comments to editor@obantimes.co.uk