New Lonach event to aid charity groups

Jim Mitchell escorts the Lonach march on his 80-year-old police bike
Jim Mitchell escorts the Lonach march on his 80-year-old police bike

Organisers of the Lonach Gathering are staging a new event to raise money for charity - and to mark five months until the games.

The Highland and Friendly Society, which arranges the annual games, will hold the Halfway to Lonach Party on Saturday, March 31.

It will take place in the Lonach Hall, Strathdon, from 8pm to 1am and will raise funds for two charities.

All proceeds will be split between Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and Friends of Anchor. Both organisations have provided support to individuals connected with the society.

Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis was chosen by Lonach Highlander James McIntosh, who runs the Lecht Ski Centre, and recently underwent a double lung transplant.

In recognition of the assistance that retired policeman Jim Mitchell has given the society in recent years, the event is also raising money for Friends of Anchor, which supports cancer and haematology care in the North-east.

Affectionately known as ‘The Bobby on the Bike’ for his role escorting the Lonach march on his 1930s police cycle, Jim, 62, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2004 and has worked tirelessly to raise cash for cancer charities.

He is set to take on his own fundraising challenge for Friends of Anchor next month in the 100km Etape Loch Ness cycling event, completing part of the route on his 80-year-old single gear police bike.

Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said: “It is shaping up to be a great night.

“Community cohesion and charitable giving are deeply rooted in the 195-year history of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society and the Halfway to Lonach Party is an excellent way to continue these traditions beyond our annual gathering in August.

“It is fitting that we are supporting two charities that have a close personal connection to two individuals who have played their own important roles in the society and local community over the years.

“We look forward to welcoming a good crowd to the Lonach Hall and raising a significant amount for Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and Friends of Anchor.”

The Halfway to Lonach Party will feature music from local band ‘The Fundamentals’, a raffle and other entertainment.

It is for 18s and over, with tickets costing £12 per person which can be bought by emailing info@lonach.org

This year’s games will be on Saturday, August 25.