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Flag honouring Inverness baby who tragically died is on its way to Everest

By Gregor White

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Lauren McFarland of Kandoo Adventures with the flag that is now making its way to Everest.
Lauren McFarland of Kandoo Adventures with the flag that is now making its way to Everest.

A flag honouring an Inverness baby who sadly died in his sleep – along with other tiny tots who passed away prematurely – is on its way to the top of the world.

There was devastation for the family of little Albie Mackenzie when he died in April, just a fortnight after his first birthday, the cause put down to Sudden Unexplained Infant Death.

While grief-stricken, mum Daisy and dad Eoin, along with the rest of their family, decided to honour his memory by embarking on a mammoth fundraising effort to thank the counselling charity who were there for them – Held in Our Hearts – and do what they could to help others facing a similarly devastating loss.

Among other events a huge party night and auction was held at the start of this month at the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness, raising more than £2000, while in August the family and their supporters collectively covered the distance from the Highland capital to Mount Everest on a sponsored walk effort.

That raised more than £7000.

Now travel expert Lauren McFarland of trekking company Kandoo Adventures is to take a flag bearing the charity's name and a picture of beautiful Albie on a trip to Everest Base Camp.

Albie's tragic death has spurred his family on to help others facing a similar loss.
Albie's tragic death has spurred his family on to help others facing a similar loss.

Setting off today she is expected to arrive there by the end of the month.

She said it was an honour to do this for Albie, his family and the Held in our Hearts charity.

Calling the collective distance of 6428 miles covered by the sponsored walkers who came together at Daisy's request to help Held in our Hearts "incredible" she added: "It means a lot to me to be able to do this for Held in our Hearts and Albie’s Gift as my auntie and her partner had to go through this with their beautiful first-born child.

"It takes a lot of inner strength and a strong supportive network to be able to get through these tough times.

"On my Everest adventure I will take Albie's flag to Gokyo Ri (5357m), Kala Pattar (5554m) and at Everest Base Camp (5346m).

"I hope I do him, his family, and all of the Held in our Hearts charity and supporters proud, and most importantly spread awareness, so that families going through a devastating loss know that there is support out there for them."

Daisy Mackenzie said: "I’m so grateful to Lauren. The thought of little Albie's face flying on top of the world is so special.

Albie with mum Daisy Mackenzie.
Albie with mum Daisy Mackenzie.

"We also wrote on the flag the names of other babies who have sadly died and their parents are part of the Held in our Hearts community. It makes it even more special."

Admitting "overwhelming sadness" that "this is how Albie will have adventures now – he’ll never climb a mountain or learn to ride a bike or finish primary school" she nevertheless added that she was proud as well.

"This is happening due to our walk we did for Albie in August where, as a team, we covered the distance of Inverness to the top of Everest," she said.

"I can’t thank those who took part in the walk enough as not only did it make this happen but it also raised almost £7000.

"The way Albie will live on is very different, very sad, but still very special."

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