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Six-year-old Findlay Nicholl from Culloden aims to go the extra mile for pal Leo Flett and raise money for Leo's Pride charity and muscular dystrophy

By Gregor White

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Findlay Nicholls fundraising – is walking six miles to raise money for muscular dystrophy. Picture: Callum Mackay
Findlay Nicholls fundraising – is walking six miles to raise money for muscular dystrophy. Picture: Callum Mackay

A determined six-year-old is taking on a demanding charity challenge in memory of an inspirational friend.

Findlay Nicholl, from Culloden, is planning to walk six miles in honour of former nursery playmate Leo Flett who had muscular dystrophy and died, aged four, 18 months ago.

Findlay, now a pupil at Duncan Forbes Primary School, is planning to take on the walk alongside dad Gareth this weekend.

Little Leo was well known across Inverness as the face and name of the Leo’s Pride charity set up by his parents, Louise and Mitchell.

Explaining why his son had decided to step out for the cause Mr Nicholl said: “Findlay went to nursery at the same time as Leo, and although they were not together every day, because of Leo’s condition, they were good friends.

“Findlay enjoyed having Leo in his class and was always telling us when he was in for the few hours each week that he attended. Leo and Findlay were the same age – they were growing up together.”

Mr Nicholl added: “Our hearts went out to Louise and Mitchell when they lost their boy.

“It hits even harder when your boy is the same age and you think of all the adventures they should have been having together.”

Leo’s Pride is continuing to help raise awareness and vital funds to support the work of Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Mr Nicholl continued: “It was difficult for us when we had to explain to Findlay that Leo had died. We said ‘Leo has gone to live in the sky, and every time you see a star that is Leo thinking of you’.”

The family set a fundraising target of £100 for Findlay’s upcoming walk and said they had been “overwhelmed” with the generosity shown so far – with online donations currently almost four times that much.

“We could not be prouder of Findlay,” Mr Nicholl said. “This is his idea and we just want to make it happen for him, so fingers crossed the weather is OK for us to get out and do it.”

Findlay’s fundraising is just part of a wider effort to raise money under Leo’s Pride’s Leo’s 6th Year Challenge, marking what should have been the brave boy’s sixth birthday this week.

Louise Flett, Leo's mum and her friend Dawn Cheyne. Picture: James Mackenzie
Louise Flett, Leo's mum and her friend Dawn Cheyne. Picture: James Mackenzie

In total more than 50 further fundraisers of all ages have been taking on a variety of challenges, including nurse and neighbour of the Fletts, Dawn Cheyne, who came up with the idea of asking people to take on an exercise-based fundraising activity.

Thanking her “amazing” friend for the idea Mrs Flett said the only stipulation for participants was that they should base their efforts around the number six, adding: “We have left it up to the individual or teams to decide what they do and how they do it – walking, running, cycling, rowing etc.”

Activities include covering 6km a day every day in December or 6km a day for six days; 666 miles or 600km over December; and 6666 press-ups over the month.

“We don’t have a set goal to raise, although we do have a target of £60,000 set on our justgiving page and we are now less than £2000 away from that – so it would be incredible if we could reach that to end the year,” Mrs Flett said.

“We are so humbled and overwhelmed at the response to this event, given it was very short notice for people. It’s very touching knowing that people still think of our boy and that Leo still has his Pride.”

Leo Flett and mum Louise. Picture: Gary Anthony
Leo Flett and mum Louise. Picture: Gary Anthony

To donate to Findlay’s fundraising walk visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/findlaynicholl

For the wider 6th Year Challenge effort see www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/muscular-dystrophy/leospridefund

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