Posts tagged ‘The Birthday Party’

20 May, 2014

Aching bones can’t thwart charity Highland trek

For the past few months, Liz Lumsden has been sharing preparations for her West Highland Way walk in aid of a RoSPA child safety project. Here, she blogs about the tough 50-mile two-day trek itself.

Liz (far right), Donald (centre) and friends at the start of the walk.

Liz (far right), Donald (centre) and friends at the start of the walk.

Not many people will walk 25 miles in one day – and then get up the next morning and walk another 25! For me, that was the biggest challenge. I have done walks before of a similar length, but always had a day to recover before going back to work. To repeat the experience on a second day was not easy.

My son Donald and I had agreed to walk 50 miles of the West Highland Way to raise funds for the printing and distribution of The Birthday Party, a children’s book about safety. RoSPA wants every child starting school in Scotland this year to get a copy.

We began at 7am on day one with a climb out of Crainlarich before the terrain flattened out for a while during the seven miles over to Tyndrum. After a coffee we headed off over to Bridge of Orchy in time for lunch. We needed it – the next stage was a real climb and ended up on Rannoch Moor – 10 miles of desolation – before the long walk down the mountains to the only hotel for miles – the Kingshouse. We could see it from it about three miles away and kept thinking about the bath and the hot meal that were waiting for us.

I ached from head to toe by the time I crawled (almost literally) into bed that night. I didn’t feel much better the next morning, but there was no going back. It wasn’t a very appealing thought to get started as the rain had been pouring down most of the night and had only eased off a bit by 8am.

The group reach the all important half way point and stop for a spot of lunch!

The group reach the all important half way point and stop for a spot of lunch! Well deserved we say!

Waterproofs on, we were ready to complete the challenge. After a fairly flat start we had to climb the Devil’s Staircase. It’s tough, but thankfully doesn’t last for long and the following section is mostly flat or downhill into Kinlochleven. The sun even came out for a while.

We were able to enjoy lunch in the sun before popping into a cafe in Kinlochleven for coffee and white chocolate “rocky road” (my favourite!). The sugar rush kept us going on the long climb out of Kinlochleven and down through the most amazing valley before the final slog to Fort William.

Like the previous day, we could see where we wanted to be long before we reached it. The last section of the West Highland Way is on surfaces that are very unforgiving and our bones started to really ache with about five miles still to go.

We walked with friends who were fundraising for other charities and had a real sense of achievement when we crossed the finishing line. We all had friends and family to meet us and were receiving text messages during the last few hours encouraging us to “keep going”.

Donald and I love to walk, but this was certainly his biggest challenge to date and he completed it suffering from only one blister (I managed to avoid having any – thanks to the amazing properties of Vaseline!).

I managed to exceed my fundraising target, but we still need money for the project. Every £1 raised will mean three parents can share home safety messages while reading The Birthday Party to their children. You can still donate at www.justgiving.com/elizabeth-lumsden2 or by texting WWHW50 £2, WWHW50 £5 or WWHW50 £10 to 70070.

28 February, 2014

Fundraising trek is a family affair

Kenneth Hamilton tells us why he’s fundraising for RoSPA.

I have always known about RoSPA for as long as I can remember: my mum Liz has worked at the Edinburgh office for nearly 20 years. When I heard that she was walking the West Highland Way to raise money for the charity I was really happy to help.

Kenneth with his trusty Nordic poles!

Kenneth with his trusty Nordic walking poles!

I have wanted to walk the West Highland Way for a while but have never committed to it before. This will be a good opportunity for me to carry out the walk and help raise money for a RoSPA and Go Safe Scotland project.

My mother and brother covered the West Highland Way in seven days. We will be walking half of this journey in two days, so the pressure is on to get fit and fast!

I work out regularly in the gym and I have just taken on a challenge to do 10,000 kettlebell swings in four weeks. This will give me a physical (and mental) challenge to work through and complete, and will help with my strength before the walk.

So far my mum and I have practiced every second Sunday and will continue to do so until the day of the walk in April. On the first practice run we walked from Linlithgow, along the canal, to Falkirk train station. My fitness was fine but I did get a pain in my knee and just made it to the train back home!

The second training Sunday was a few miles longer. We walked the first part of the West Highland Way and we will continue to walk each subsequent part so that I will have actually completed the full journey.

Kenneth makes a quick pit stop while in training for the West Highland Way.

Kenneth makes a quick pit stop while in training for the West Highland Way.

I tried out Nordic walking poles and was very surprised how much they helped with speed and release of pressure on the joints, I will definitely continue to use them and would recommend them to anyone.

Although the first part wasn’t very difficult I know that it will get harder and the extra miles each day will be quite difficult. So I will continue to work out at the gym and we will both continue walking every second weekend.

I’m raising money for a RoSPA/Go Safe Scotland project my mum is working on. It’s a book which will be available initially to all children starting school this summer in Scotland. The Birthday Party has been written by award-winning children’s author Linda Strachan. It is part of an initiative to provide safety education for primary school children.

If you would like to sponsor me please visit, www.justgiving.com/Kenneth-Hamilton and “gieze awe your money”.

3 February, 2014

The West Highland Way to fundraising

The training plan has been drawn up and we’re off! My oldest son, Kenneth, has decided he will accompany me on a 50-mile walk to raise funds for RoSPA.

LizWalkWe will walk the second half of the West Highland Way in April. We’ll cover 25 miles each day, from Crianlarich to Fort William. The entire 96 miles of the West Highland Way winds through some spectacular scenery, but this final section involves some tough wee hills such as the appropriately-named “Devil’s Staircase”.

I have walked the entire Way twice before in the most amazing weather. Some days have been really warm but others resulted in me having to pour the water out of my boots at the end of the day – and put them back on soaking wet the following day!

I hope we will be lucky with the weather. At least we won’t have any midges to contend with – too early in the year. It’s going to be a real challenge, however, to cover this section in two days as I’ve only previously managed to complete it in three and a half.

All money raised will go towards the printing and distribution of a fantastic new resource which will be available initially to all children starting school this summer in Scotland.

The Birthday Party has been written by award-winning children’s author, Linda Strachan, and follows a group of children as they prepare (safely) for a birthday party at home.

It will see the beginning of a family that will become familiar to children in Scotland when a further series of eBooks are developed as part of the Go Safe Scotland initiative to provide safety education for primary school children.

Loch Lomond - one of the many breathtaking views which Elizabeth and her son will encounter on the way.

Loch Lomond – one of the many breathtaking views which Elizabeth and her son will encounter along the way.

It is important to set the scene as early as possible, so children start to think about safety and become responsible for their own actions in a manner that does not stop them enjoying a wide range of everyday activities.

So, back to the training plan: Kenneth and I have begun with a nine-mile walk along the canal and will work up to a full 25 miles from Linlithgow to Edinburgh leading up to the challenge on 25 April. As Kenneth has never had the opportunity to complete the West Highland Way before, we are going walk the first sections of it as part of our training programme too.

If you would like to donate, visit my JustGiving page or text WWHW50 £2, WWHW50 £5 or WWHW50 £10 to 70070.

Elizabeth Lumsden, RoSPA Scotland and Northern Ireland community safety manager

17 September, 2013

The Birthday Party

What’s a birthday party got to do with the remit at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you a story….

Don't Judge ME 2

Last year, I attended the launch of the Don’t Give Fire a Home initiative, and it was while catching up with fire safety colleagues that I discovered they had been working with the award-winning author Linda Strachan on a novel, Don’t Judge Me.

It involves teenagers and keeps you guessing whether one of them could be an arsonist.

I had gone to this event not long after last year’s RoSPA Scotland Occupational Health and Safety Awards dinner, when guests had donated to help the charity further its projects.

My role includes honouring last year’s pledge to use this money to help prevent further accidents happening to children, particularly for two types of tragedy – children dying after becoming entangled in a blind cord, and youngsters being knocked over and killed on the driveway.

Blind cord safety is one of the RoSPA campaigns that aims to save young lives.

Blind cord safety is one of the RoSPA campaigns that aims to save young lives.

During the awards night, it was the grieving fathers of children affected by these types of accidents who spoke so emotionally that prompted dinner guests to dig deep to help us with our mission.

Since then, I have been involved in the Go Safe Scotland project to launch an educational resource that will initially reach Glasgow children, and eventually all primary schoolchildren across Scotland.

It involves a partnership of organisations coming together to reach children in a unique way with consistent safety messages.

After all, safety and risk education is key to enabling children and young people to interact with their environment, to develop the vital skills they need, and to understand the growing responsibility they share with adults for keeping themselves (and others) safe.GoSafeScotland_logo

As far as home safety was concerned, I was looking for something to put into Go Safe Scotland that would contain age appropriate safety messages that could be delivered in a manner that wouldn’t restrict children enjoying a wide range of everyday activities, wouldn’t frighten them, and, most importantly, wouldn’t bore them either. After all, safety and risk education is key to enabling children and young people to interact with their environment.

Go Safe Scotland was launched this year.

Go Safe Scotland was launched this year.

I decided to find out more about Linda Strachan and realised she didn’t just write for teenagers, but also wrote the very popular Hamish McHaggis children’s books. Who better to write a series of short stories that could be shared as ebooks in the Go Safe Scotland resource?

A few coffees and cakes later with Linda and I was confident she was the lady for the job!

A few months on and three short stories have been completed for three different levels of primary schoolchildren – The Birthday Party,  The Surprise, and The Granny Game. Work also continues with colleagues at Glasgow City Council to have the final electronic versions produced into the educational resource.

However, I could see in my mind’s eye, parents sitting down with their children and them reading the stories together as sometimes only a “real” book will do the job. So, I wanted to see if I could find the funding to have them printed. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a copy of these books in the home of every child starting school? But I can’t do this without having money to print enough copies required to reach all those starting school in a year.

A total of £32,000 is needed to enable this to happen for the first book and at this year’s RoSPA Scotland Occupational Safety Awards on September 19, RoSPA’s chief executive Tom Mullarkey will put this appeal to the guests. I’m crossing my fingers that a good proportion of the funding required will be raised to start us on our way.

The Birthday Party is the first story for the early years, when readers will be introduced to children that will grow up with them in the next stories throughout their primary school years: Jamie, Sophie, the twins – Isla and Lewis – and baby Max. They all help to make a birthday cake, tidy up and get ready for the best party ever – while making sure no accidents are going to happen.

Would you like to be part of my story – and this fantastic initiative – by donating to this project? If so, please contact me on elumsden@rospa.com or call on 0131 449 9379.

Elizabeth Lumsden, RoSPA Scotland community safety manager.

%d bloggers like this: