Marathon heroes saluted as ‘army’ hits fundraising target

L-r,Liam Myers, Michael Bertram, Steve Mellor, Lee Myers and Kevin Traill all raised �10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support.
L-r,Liam Myers, Michael Bertram, Steve Mellor, Lee Myers and Kevin Traill all raised �10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support.

THE fundraising phenomenon that is the Borders Barmy Army scaled new heights on Monday when they displayed a cheque for £10,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The big-hearted Borderers, who founded the BBA five years ago after a zip slide down Penielheugh for the Anthony Nolan Trust, reached their round figure target for Macmillan – their chosen charity for 2011 – well ahead of schedule.

And that was down to two of their trusted lieutenants, Steve Mellor and Michael Bertram, who donned their trademark kilts and completed Sunday’s London marathon in personal best times.

Steve, 47, a council IT worker from Galashiels, completed the route in four hours, 52 minutes – nearly an hour faster than in his London debut last year when the BBA was campaigning for Whizz-Kidz.

And Melrose postie Michael Bertram, 39, clocked five hours 26 minutes, taking half-an-hour off his time in 2010.

“Every inch of the 26 miles is lined with spectators cheering you on and, as you pass the mile marker, this support really supports and lifts you,” said Steve, a founder member of the BBA. “Our families were there to cheer us over the finishing line which was an emotional end to a brilliant day.”

Steve and Michael appeared to be none the worse for wear when they joined their comrades for Monday night’s celebration in the Tweedbank Sports Complex.

The BBA has now raised more than £10,000 this year for Macmillan and the cheque will be presented at a date to be arranged, but its campaign is not over yet, with 30-year-old twins Liam and Lee Myers from Galashiels due to take part in the New York Marathon on November 6.

“We hope to reach a further £5,000 by November with every penny going to the Borders Macmillan Centre at the BGH,” said Lee, also a founder member of the BBA.

“This means we will have raised a staggering £32,500 pounds for charity over the past two years.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the local people who have supported us, given very generously, attended our events, sponsored our pantomime horses at Kelso Races, dropped money in our buckets and beeped the horns when we have been running on the roads in our kilts.

“In the current economic climate this says a lot for the people of the Borders and generosity of the area.”

Lee revealed that this hugely positive response from Borderers meant that, in future, all fundraising efforts would be directed to helping local charities, including the Macmillan facility at the BGH. “We now have a debt of gratitude to honour,” he added.

The BBA’s next fundraising event for Macmillan is a golf competition at the Monksford House course near Newtown St Boswells on Sunday, May 1. Places are now available at £25 per person.

Forthcoming events include a sponsored day’s treadmill running in the Gyle Shopping Centre in Edinburgh on Sunday, May 22, and again at the St James Centre in the capital on Saturday, June 4.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the Borders Barmy Army or attending the golf event should visit www.bordersbarmyarmy.com