Hawick charity boss stepping out in bid to raise funds

Caroline Brown, co-ordinator at the FirstLight Trust's community hub in Hawick.
Caroline Brown, co-ordinator at the FirstLight Trust's community hub in Hawick.

A charity stalwart will be putting on her walking boots next week to help armed forces veterans on the road back to recovery.

The FirstLight Trust opened a community hub in Hawick High Street in July last year, doubling up as a cafe and source of practical support for ex-services personnel and others.

Caroline Brown is co-ordinator at the hub, the only one in Scotland but one of six UK-wide, and she’s now planning to go the distance to raise money for it.

Next week, she is taking part in a sponsored West Highland Way trek, a 96-mile route from Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire to Fort William in the Highlands, and she aims to raise £1,000 for the charity.

Caroline, of Kelso, will be taking six days to complete the route, starting next Thursday, April 25.

It’s a cause close to her heart. She said: “I’ll be 54 this year, and this is my first long trek. I’ve never walked near to 100 miles in my life, so it will be a challenge if nothing else.

“I also hurt my back a couple of weeks ago, so that has put practice walks out of the question. I’m just going to have to go for it.

“We support members of the armed forces and the blue light services to get veterans back on their feet and back into civilian life. Some have suffered physical, emotional and psychological disorders.

“For those that do have more complex needs, we can go as far as helping them see the right clinicians at the right times, sometimes even a bit quicker.”

Caroline, a former shop-worker, said the people of Hawick had rallied to the charity’s support since it opened in the town, adding: “It’s been fantastic, absolutely fantastic.

“We’ve had a great response and lots of local support and, most importantly, veterans using us for what they need us for.”

Go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/caroline-brown59 to support her.

“Caroline has been such an inspiration at our Hawick hub,” said Dorinda Wolfe Murray, founder of the trust.

“She’s helped set up craft fairs, stalls at the Trinity Gardens Christmas market, Remembrance Sunday commemorations and a Burns lunch.

“Walking 96 miles really is above and beyond her job description, but we’re proud to support her every step of the way.”