REGARDLESS of how Scotland fare in the Rugby World Cup, Hawick farmer Kirsty Dunlop is set for an unforgettable experience in New Zealand, writes Andrew Keddie.
For gran Kirsty, who farms at Commonside, will take part in her first skydive – a surprise and unconventional 58th birthday present from her four daughters.
And when she plummets from a plane 16,500ft above the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park in the Nelson area of South Island on October 5, Kirsty will be helping the Margaret Kerr Appeal which is seeking to raise £1million to help create a specialist palliative care unit at the Borders General Hospital.
“Mum loves an adventure, but point blank refused to do a bungy jump which is what we had originally planned for her birthday,” said her daughter Ailidh.
“When she said she would prefer to do a skydive we were rather taken aback, but she insisted that any money we could raise in her absence should go for Macmillan Cancer Support, which is supporting the palliative care unit appeal.
“She has done lots of work for that charity in the past, so we are busy trying to get friends to sponsor her dive.”
Kirsty, who cheered on Scotland to their shaky victory over the Romanians at Invercargill on Saturday, is planning to stay in New Zealand for the six weeks of the tournament.
“Mum has a huge address book of friends and relations out in New Zealand who she’ll be staying with, but we know she will be visiting cousins in Nelson on her birthday, so we were able to make the necessary arrangements.
Ailidh’s sisters Sarah Dunlop, Marian Mackay and Fiona Cakebread, whose husband Graham is a shepherd at Commonside, all chipped in for the special present.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Kirsty in her daring fundraiser can send a cheque, made payable to Macmillan Cancer Support, to Kirsty’s Skydive, Commonside, Hawick TD9 0LB.