Charity clay pigeon shoot raises £50,000 for autism research

MIDLEM,  UNITED KINGDOM - 4 Sept 2011: 'Fragile X Charity Fundraising Clay Shoot''''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
MIDLEM, UNITED KINGDOM - 4 Sept 2011: 'Fragile X Charity Fundraising Clay Shoot''''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)

A CHARITY clay pigeon shoot at the weekend has raised an estimated £50,000 for research into autism and other intellectual disabilities – and donations are still pouring in.

The shoot attracted 25 teams to compete at Braidwood Sporting Clays near Selkirk on Sunday.

The brainchild of Sandy and Maude Brownlie, the event was attended by university professors, RSA artist Will Garfit, junior defence minister Gerald Howarth MP and teams from all over the country.

Mrs Brownlie, a retired nurse from Gattonside, suffers from Fragile X Associated Tremor Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS) and is believed to be the first woman in the UK to be diagnosed with the condition.

She said: “It was a brilliant day and as you can imagine I am on cloud nine. The interest generated has been amazing, the money raised has exceeded all expectations, and what can I say but a massive thank you to everyone.

“The whole day was highly organised and well run by Jim and Joyce Black, owners of The Braidwood Sporting Clay Club, and their highly professional ground team.”

The winning team was led by George Barbour from Crocketford, near Dumfries.

FXTAS is a late onset neurological condition which causes tremors, balance problems, cognitive decline, nerve and muscle pain. The genetic mutation that causes FXTAS is also responsible for Fragile X syndrome, which causes intellectual disability as well as social, language and behavioural issues, and it is the most commonly known cause of autism.

The Brownlies’ two grandsons, Ewan (12) and Harry (10) have Fragile X. Their mother Liz Henderson was the only female team member to compete at the weekend.

One team from Edinburgh University was led by Professor Peter Kind who is leading research into the syndrome, autism and other intellectual disabilities.

The shoot was held in honour of Mrs Brownlie’s late grandmother Helen Maude, who was also a genetic carrier of the Fragile X gene. Proceeds will go to the University of Edinburgh’s research into autism, Fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

About 120 attended the shooting lunch, for which Timmy Douglas JP was master of ceremonies.