THREE members of a popular Stonehaven rugby club have set themselves a gruelling fundraising challenge as a way of celebrating a milestone birthday in style.
Mackie Rugby Club members - and brothers - Michael and Richard Levack, alongside Craig Thompson, are planning to swim one mile across the icy waters of Loch Ness, follow it up with a 35 mile bike sprint to Ben Nevis before racing up Scotland’s highest peak on July 2.
The hardy trio are hoping to raise £10,000 through their efforts to go towards improving the club’s current facilities at its Redcloak playing grounds and are already well on target, with a running total sitting at £4350.
Sponsorship from firms including Rotech, M. B. Paving and 3BCSL has helped get the lads off to a flying start and they are hopeful that other companies will get involved and back them.
And for Michael, who has been playing at the club since he was 14 and initially came up with the idea, the challenge is also a way of marking his 30th birthday in truly memorable style.
He said: “I wanted to do it for my 30th birthday, which will be the week after, as a personal challenge, then my brother and Craig said that they wanted to do it with me and we thought we could raise some money for the club at the same time.
“The club are right behind us. In fact, one of the Mackie Minis that comes to support us, Kieron Dyer, has even asked his friends to donate money to the Highland Challenge instead of getting him presents for his birthday.”
Michael added: “We’ve got over 450 members and one of the biggest youth sections in Scotland but we only have four showers and two portacabins. The main focus for the club at the moment is to get enough money together to improve that.
“We are in desperate need of a purpose built club house and changing facility.
“We have secured some major sponsorship in the form of Rotech, 3BCSL and MB Paving, so a massive thank you goes out to these companies for their help so far. We would welcome any support to help us raise as much money as possible for the club.”
The trio are also planning to hold a mini tournament in May and take a stall at the Feein’ Market to help promote the challenge and raise more sponsorship.
To find out more or to donate visit http://www.highlandchallenge.yolasite.com/.