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Inverness army veteran to row one million metres for Erskine

By Andrew Dixon

John Baillie.
John Baillie.

An Army veteran from Inverness has set his sights on an incredible rowing challenge to support a charity close to his heart.

John Baillie, former Staff Sergeant 2/51 Highlands Volunteer, served in the Adjutant General’s Corps, including three tours of Bosnia during the 1990s.

This spring, the 76-year-old aims to row one million metres for veterans’ charity Erskine on a rowing machine.

“I’m doing a special tour of my own to help support my fellow veterans,” he said.

“I’ll be rowing in local supermarkets around the Highlands and in my local gym in the next few months.

“It’s an idea I’ve had for a while now. Having served in the Army, I’m well aware of the difficult experiences so many service men and women go through.

“Erskine do a wonderful job caring for veterans and their families and so I felt taking on this challenge is the least I could do for them, while also keeping myself fit.

“I hope that locals and visitors to the area will see what I’m doing as unique and exciting. The fact I’m rowing over 620 miles and am 77 on my next birthday will hopefully mean they’ll chuck a few quid into my collection bucket!”

He will be collecting funds at his first public rowing sessions at Elgin Tesco Extra on Friday and will be at Tesco Extra at Inverness Shopping Park on Sunday.

He also plans to row in other places of interest around the Highlands including Fort George, where he volunteers at The Highlanders Museum, and the Victorian Market in Inverness.

Michael Parkes, Erskine’s community fundraiser for the north, said: “It’s an honour that John is supporting Erskine with this incredible challenge.

“John speaks very passionately about his time in the Army and his various charity work over the years.

“I’m sure his rowing challenge will be a great spectacle for people to come and watch, especially with the strong link to the service community throughout the Highlands.

“John’s phenomenal efforts will help us to continue to support almost 1000 veterans each year through our accommodation, activities and employment.”

Support his efforts at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-baillie4

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