FUNDS raised in memory of schoolboy Hamish Hey are set to go towards developing Nairn Links for future generations.
Hamish Hey lost his life to cancer at the age of just eight earlier this year and since the summer his parents have been working hard to give back to the town they say has supported them so much in their darkest days
His family have worked alongside the community to launch Team Hamish – a group that organises clubs, events and fundraising activities in his honour – with all money raised going to projects that benefit families in the area.
In just five months they have managed to raise more than £30,000 but the sale of Team Hamish merchandise including hats and bags, along with the launch of a new rock choir and other projects mean that the total is still rising.
In June more than 1100 people took part in a fundraising fun run and Hamish’s mother, Susan, said she is delighted with how much progress has been made already, describing herself as humbled by the amount people have donated.
"We are now in positive talks with the council regarding what we want to achieve," she said.
"The momentum is very much still there and it is all going well.
"It has given us a real focus and helps to keep Hamish’s memory going."
Hamish had battled cancer since he was toddler, with doses of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy helping him beat an initial bout of Rhabdomyosarcomas, which affected the soft tissue of his knee.
Sadly, five years later, he contracted another rare childhood cancer – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) – where the chances of survival are very low.
Mrs Hey said: "We would rather that Hamish was here with us but not very many people can leave a legacy like he did in eight years."
During a recent ward business meeting in Nairn Team Hamish and local councillors agreed to work together to bring improvements to Nairn Links including the creation of new family areas for all ages and abilities to enjoy together.
The extensive project will look to incorporate everything from play spaces to seating areas that can be used whatever the weather.
Area committee chairman, Councillor Tom Heggie, supports the project.
"It enables the family to make a lasting contribution to the Links area for the benefit of every age group in Nairn, marking their gratitude for the support they have received from so many individuals and groups," he said.
"In addition it allows the community to see how coming together can achieve outcomes which could not otherwise be realised."
There will now be a period of consultation to allow local people to put forward ideas for how the Links area should be developed.
This will involve Highland Council, Nairn Improvement Community Enterprise and Team Hamish all working together.
A spokesman for Team Hamish said: "We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the whole community of Nairn for their incredible support and ongoing fundraising to create what we hope will be a huge asset to the town.
"We look forward to developing a positive working relationship with the local councillors for the benefit of Nairn and its community."
The announcement comes in a poignant week as the Hey family celebrated daughter Lily’s 11th birthday on Wednesday.
Coincidentally the date would also have been Hamish’s ninth birthday and the family posted a tribute to their son on social media.
"Our hearts are breaking as we think of Hamish on what should be his ninth birthday," they said.
"We miss you more than words could ever say."
The Sing For Hamish rock choir also launched this week in Nairn as another fundraising effort that hopes to draw in donations through performances.
They are set to take to the stage for the first time on November 2 for Nairn’s Shine Festival of Light.
Their next rehearsal takes place on October 26 at 6.30pm in Nairn Academy and new members are welcome.
For more information about Team Hamish events follow www.facebook.com/teamhamish/