John in leap of faith for char­ity

West Lothian Courier - - News - Mar­jorie Kerr

A 75-year- old West Loth­ian man over­came his fear of heights to leap from great heights in aid of char­ity.

John Thomp­son, an ex-mil­i­tary piper and formerly of the 1st Royal High­land Fusiliers, took on the ‘Ul­ti­mate Ab­seil’ off the Forth Rail Bridge, rais­ing more than £525 for Chest, Heart and Stroke (CHSS) and spe­cial needs learn­ing schools in West Loth­ian.

John, who is a ten­ant at Bield’s Craigen­gar Park in Liv­ingston, put aside his fears and joined 230 other dare­dev­ils to take the 165ft plunge from the bridge’s view­ing plat­form to the beach be­low.

Although known lo­cally for be­ing a ‘se­rial fundraiser’, John be­lieves that the event was one of the most thrilling yet ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that he has un­der­taken.

He said: “It was ter­ri­fy­ing be­ing on the bridge, my knees were shak­ing. I nearly had to bring a spare pair of trousers.

“Although it was scary, it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and I am proud that I con­quered my fear and went through with it.

“I had great sup­port on the day from my friends and fam­ily.

“Not all of the dona­tions are in yet, but I have cur­rently man­aged to raise £525 for CHSS.”

Over the last few years, John has raised more than £ 50,000 for var­i­ous char­i­ties in­clud­ing Save The Chil­dren, Prostate Can­cer UK and Poppy Scot­land.

Last year, he also made a splash by rais­ing £7398 for lo­cal Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia fa­cil­i­ties, swim­ming 32 lengths in 38 min­utes at his lo­cal pool.

More than £103,000 has been raised by those in­volved in this year’s ab­seil, with the funds to be spent on im­prov­ing the lives of peo­ple liv­ing with chest, heart or stroke con­di­tions.

Al­i­son Acosta, head of sup­port fundrais­ing at CHSS, said: “We had a bril­liant day.

“The amount raised is ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal and will make a real dif­fer­ence the qual­ity of life of peo­ple liv­ing with chest, heart or stroke con­di­tions in Scot­land.

“The im­mense ef­fort and sup­port of our fundrais­ing he­roes means that we can pro­vide a life­line for peo­ple in Scot­land who are iso­lated, scared or anx­ious about their con­di­tion and en­sure that they get the sup­port and ser­vices they badly need.

“Our sup­port­ers who took part were amaz­ing.

“We are al­ways over­whelmed at how much peo­ple raise for us and the mo­ti­va­tion peo­ple have to sup­port us, I’d like to thank them all.”

Fundrais­ers can sign up now for next year’s Forth Rail Bridge Ab­seil on June 9 or Oc­to­ber 6, 2019 at www.ab­

Although it was scary, it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence

Char­ity champ John pic­tured at the Forth Bridge

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