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Andrew Gill's fundraising efforts back on track after Amsterdam Half Marathon attempt was thwarted

By Ian Duncan

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Ness Factor fundraiser Andrew Gill. Picture: Callum Mackay
Ness Factor fundraiser Andrew Gill. Picture: Callum Mackay

A Ness Factor finalist was hoping to literally go the extra 13 miles by taking part in the Amsterdam Half Marathon in aid of Highland Hospice.

Andrew Gill, a humanist celebrant from Fortrose, is one of nine finalists taking part in this year’s singing competition.

However his hopes were dashed when a recent bout of ill health forced him to cancel his plans as he was unable to train for a few weeks. He said: “Thankfully it was not Covid.”

He also organised a pub quiz at The Den, next to Johnny Foxes, in Inverness this month. He said there were prizes up for grabs as well as a raffle.

He said he had been a supporter of the hospice for many years, adding: “Its services are fundamental to the region. Although my family or friends have never needed to use it, I help to support the hospice any way I can in order to help keep it going for anyone who does.”

Mr Gill said he was taking part to push himself out of his comfort zone and he was finding the singing tuition useful.

“I feel I am improving, and that’s helped my confidence to improve also,” he added.

“I think I have been well paired with my tutor, I think it’s important to gel with your tutor when learning anything, and I couldn’t have asked for a better tutor than Katy-Louise.

“We are having so much fun, we have such a friendly group this year. And the songs are all sounding fantastic. It’s going to be an awesome show on the night.”

As well as Mr Gill the contestants this year are Stephen Laurie, Lisa Gray, Jennifer Urquhart, Fiona Clark, Donna Fraser, Caitlin Farquhar, Moira Black and Gregor Matheson.

They are being coached in teams of three by Tony Henry, Katy-Louise Mackay and Fiona Forbes.

In aid of the hospice, the contestants have spent the last few months training ahead of the event on November 12 at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness.

This year, the winner will take home a grand prize of a performance slot at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2023.

It is the fifth year of the competition and also the 35th year of the hospice, making this show extra special.

There will be a commemorative address along with guest performances and an auction.

Ness Factor.
Ness Factor.

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