Putting their hearts and soles into fundraising for good cause

, UNITED KINGDOM - 14 May 2011: 'Hearts & Heroes Charity Walk''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
, UNITED KINGDOM - 14 May 2011: 'Hearts & Heroes Charity Walk''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)

NEARLY 300 hearts got behind Scotland’s heroes in a Borders charity challenge on Saturday.

270 people took part in the annual Poppyscotland Hearts & Heroes event to raise money for injured rugby players and Armed Forces veterans.

Teams from the worlds of military, rugby and business, along with charity supporters, walked and ran alomg a 29-mile section of the Southern Upland Way in aid of rugby charity Hearts & Balls and veterans’ charity Poppyscotland.

The 12-hour event, run by outdoor challenge company WildFox Events, began at the southern end of St Mary’s Loch and finished at the Greenyards in Melrose.

Three distances were available – bronze (12 miles), silver (21 miles) and gold (29 miles) – so that participants could set their own physical challenges.

Poppyscotland chief executive Ian McGregor said that organisers were pleased with the success of the event.

He told us: “I am delighted that so many people have taken part in Hearts & Heroes with such enthusiasm. The efforts of everyone here today will help Poppyscotland to continue its work, providing life-changing support to veterans and their families across Scotland all year round.

“We are also pleased to be working with Hearts & Balls to ensure that those in the service and sporting communities will receive the help they need and deserve.”

Many locals took part in the event, including several of the Borders’ rugby clubs, with both Gala and Melrose getting in among the honours.

Jim Littlefair, chairman of rugby charity Hearts & Balls, spoke of his gratitude: “I extend a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the Hearts & Heroes Challenge.

“Rugby brings pleasure to many, but occasionally serious injuries can occur.

“Hearts & Balls supports these injured players and their families. The collaboration between Hearts & Balls and Poppyscotland is fitting as all money raised from this event will make a huge difference to the lives of those who have been injured, whether that be on a field of sport or a field of war.”

Although the physical challenge is over, many participants are still continuing with their fundraising efforts.

All money raised will go to help injured rugby players as well as veterans and their families living in Scotland. As well as raising much-needed sponsorship money, teams also competed for awards and celebrated their achievements at a party at the Greenyards.

Winners: Fastest Person – Rory Thomson from Team 299 Special Communications – 4 hours, 40 minutes. Rory is part of 299 Signal Squadron (Special Communications), based at Bletchley. Fastest Military and Fastest Overall – 299 Special Communications

Fastest Rugby – Gala RFC (2nd); Fastest Mixed – Melrose RFC (3rd overall); Best Dressed – Lead Wasps; Last but not ‘Leased’ – Big Hearts & Little Heroes; Best Team Name – Not that fast, not particularly furious (Tayforth UOTC); Fastest Over 50s – Horsetiger & The Legal Eagles; Fastest International –Sassanachs & Bravehearts; Fastest Women’s – The Babes (9th overall); Fastest Corporate – First State Five (16th)