MSP joins Pillar charity challenge

Mairi Evans MSP with 'Team Mairi' - Chris Beattie, Sandra Fraser and Ewan Smith on the summit of Arthur's Seat.
Mairi Evans MSP with 'Team Mairi' - Chris Beattie, Sandra Fraser and Ewan Smith on the summit of Arthur's Seat.

Mairi Evans MSP has endorsed Pillar Kincardine’s t26.2 campaign, leading her own team of t26.2 challengers to raise funding for the Stonehaven-based mental health charity.

The t26.2 initiative sees teams combine personal distances to complete the equivalent of a marathon through walking, running or cycling.

The challenge can be done over days, weeks or even months with fundraising going towards bolstering Pillar Kincardine’s work in the North East.

And Ms Evans, who led her team up to the top of the iconic Edinburgh landmark Arthur’s Seat for their opening walk, insists the challenge will have a lasting impact on her office staff.

She said: “The t26.2 campaign is fantastic. It brings a wide range of benefits to everyone who takes part. It gives people the chance to lead and feel part of a team and there are clear spin-offs for mental and physical wellbeing.

“Thanks to Pillar’s campaign I’ve been inspired to make lasting change within my office team. I’m hoping more teams can sign up for t26.2 to raise vital funding for Pillar.”

Pillar has been established for over 30 years and offer weekly community based groups to help people build social networks, provide ongoing support to recover from mental illness and support those living with long-term mental illness.

Pillar board member Kevin Harrison believes the t26.2 campaign has helped transform his life.

Harrison, 37, from Stonehaven, is a full-time carer for his father and was referred to Pillar for support after suffering from stress at the end of 2016.

And he said: “Pillar has made a huge difference to my physical and mental well-being. I’m a full-time carer and because of that I have limited opportunities to have a social life.

“I was suffering from stress when I was first referred to Pillar through Signposting and through them I’ve met new people and my confidence has grown.

“I joined their walking group in Portlethen and trained as walk leader. Because of that responsibility I’ve grown in confidence, I have a wider social circle and I feel much healthier.

“The more people we can get to do the t26.2 challenge the more we can create wider social circles and break down some of the stigma attached to mental health.”