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Couple plan skydive to raise funds for Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team

By Neil MacPhail

Sue and Ron Howie on one of their beloved mountains.
Sue and Ron Howie on one of their beloved mountains.

AN adventurous couple are planning a big sponsored “fall” in aid of a mountain rescue team.

Avid mountaineers Susan and Ronald Howie are to make a skydive in March to raise much-needed funds for Dundonnell MRT, who cover a vast area.

They will make the jump attached in tandem to experienced parachutists from Strathallan Airstrip.

Mrs Howie said: “This will be our first, and only, skydive.

“We already enjoy challenging hobbies but wanted to do something outwith our comfort zone to raise money for people that we admire greatly.

“Mountain rescue are involved in far more than helping climbers on the hills. Increasingly, the Dundonnell team helps in non-mountain incidents where people have gone missing.

“We chose Dundonnell MRT because their 35 volunteers cover our patch and the huge area that includes many of the mountains we enjoy.

“We are funding the jumps ourselves at a cost of about £355 each, so all donations will go to Dundonnell MRT.”

Mrs Howie works with Goskirk Pettinger Optometrists who have shops in Inverness, Dingwall and Golspie and Mr Howie is an optometrist at Asda in Inverness.

A JustGiving page has been set up online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sue-ronhowie

The daring couple, of Balnaguisich by Invergordon have never had to call on the mountain rescue service themselves, but were involved in a rescue in the Cuillins on Skye when a climber fell about 25ft and they dashed to Glen Brittle to find a landline and call out the emergency services.

It costs between £35,000 and £40,000 to fund the Dundonnell team every year and they depend on donations.

Mrs Howie added: “Climbing abroad made us even more appreciative of the mountain rescue volunteers we have, as many countries have absolutely no mountain rescue service, never mind volunteers.

“On the Skye rescue we were full of admiration for the MRT members who gave up everything to involve themselves in the successful rescue.

“We hope to make our jumps on March 1, and hopefully from the same aircraft so that we can give each other moral support.

“So far we have raised more than £800 through our JustGiving page and I have three Dundonnell MRT collection tins and my employers have agreed for me to place a tin in each of our practices. Our lovely patients are already making donations. My employers have also kindly agreed to donate £250 and this exceeded my expectations as it is half of the £500 target we hope to raise. We are so grateful to them and all of our donors.

“We know that raising money for such a local and ‘bespoke’ charity will be hard.

“Many people do not understand why anyone would volunteer in such a selfless manner to risk their lives for others.

“But I think it stems from the ethos among mountaineers that we all look after each other out there.”

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