Injured Scottish rugby players to get Kiltwalk cash boost

A RUGBY charity which supports players who suffer life-changing ­injuries in the sport are set to ­benefit from this year's massive ­Kiltwalk event.

Jim Taylor, the Hearts and Balls ambassador, with rugby players from Glasgow Warriors and GHK rugby club.  Picture: Martin Shields/Contributed
Jim Taylor, the Hearts and Balls ambassador, with rugby players from Glasgow Warriors and GHK rugby club. Picture: Martin Shields/Contributed

Kind-hearted Scots are just weeks away from once again lacing up their walking boots for charity.

The first Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk of 2017 takes place on 30 April, when Glaswegians will take on either a wee wander of six miles, a big 13-mile stroll or a mighty stride of 23 miles around the Dear Green Place.

There’s a brand new start at ­Glasgow Green and the walk will take those participating on a unique urban tour of Glasgow, which will eventually wind-up in the ­idyllic location of Moss O’ Balloch Park.

Last year, 282 Scottish children’s charities benefited from Kiltwalk.

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This year walkers can choose to raise funds for any Scottish charity at events across Scotland in ­Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.

Just one of the hundreds of ­charities set to reap rewards from the event is Hearts and Balls, a ­rugby charity which supports ­players who have to cope with ­devastating injuries.

Kenny Hamilton, the charity’s chairman, is appealing to the whole rugby community to put on a kilt and get walking.

He said: “We first became involved with Kiltwalk in 2016 and it was a ­fantastic mechanism to raise much needed funds to provide support for any injured young rugby ­players and encourage good, safe practice for young players in our sport through educational programmes.

“We are a charity that relies solely on donations from supporters so it is fantastic news that in 2017, when a walker raises money and chooses to walk for Hearts and Balls, the funds can go directly to where it will have the most significant immediate impact.

“While rugby brings so much immense pleasure, nobody knows where and when tragedy will strike. As a charity we strive to be in a ­position to be able to provide ­support wherever and whenever it’s needed. Now, the Kiltwalk can help us do this more than ever before.

“Last year a few teams got involved to raise money, which was wonderful. This year, we encourage the entire rugby community to swap their rugby boots for walking boots and take to the streets for Hearts and Balls.”

Organisers of the event took big steps themselves this year, with a number of other initiatives to make the Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk the country’s largest mass participation event.

At The Platform, an event organised by the Kiltwalk team to ­support Scottish charities in their bid to mobilise fundraisers, Scottish ­philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter made a unique pledge to encourage people to take part.

Sir Tom and The Hunter Foundation pledged that 110 per cent of all fundraising at each of the four 2017 Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk events will go to charity.  

Whether a walker raises £10, £100 or more The Hunter Foundation will add 10 per cent to their ­fundraising total with absolutely no limit. Paul Cooney, chief executive of the Kiltwalk added: “What makes the Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk so special is the fact that walkers can choose any charity to fundraise for.

“Our ambition is for Kiltwalk to be the lowest cost, best and most effective platform for every ­single charity in Scotland to raise funds for what they believe in. Last year, 8,000 people took part and raised almost £900,000, which was ­outstanding.”

The dates for Kiltwalk are: ­Glasgow 30 April, Aberdeen 4 June, Dundee 20 August, and Edinburgh 17 September.