A raylling call has been issued to communities across the Highlands to join in the final push to raise £100,000 to hit the Highland Children’s Unit Appeal target.
Set at £2 million, the dream to create a world-class children’s department at Raigmore Hospital is now tantalisingly close to becoming a reality.
Inverness businessman David Sutherland and Eastgate Shopping Centre manager Jackie Cuddy have been long-term supporters of the appeal, launched by the ARCHIE Foundation in conjunction with the Inverness Courier.
With the new unit set to open its doors in two months, they are now urging the public to make one almighty fundraising push.
Mr Sutherland paid tribute to all those who have played a part in the fundraising efforts so far – from corporate sponsors and trusts to individuals.
“We take great heart from gestures such as an 80-year-old lady who wishes to remain anonymous at present,” he said. “She walked into our ARCHIE Highland office last week and donated £5000 of her hard-earned savings to the charity. What a gesture from this very kind lady.”
Mr Sutherland said the funds raised were being spent in partnership with NHS Highland to transform the shell of the former ward 11 – previously used for respiratory patients – into a state-of-the-art facility for young patients. The family-friendly and child-centred unit will use the latest medical equipment.
He added: “The contractors on site, Morrison Construction, have pledged to deliver the project on time with no cost over-runs to the budget which is commendable in the current climate.”
Mr Sutherland’s personal fundraising efforts include running the New York marathon and publishing his autobiography, “We’ve Come A Long Way”, outlining how he grew up in an overcrowded council house but went on to lead one of Scotland’s biggest construction companies.
“The last lap of any appeal is akin to the marathon when you have run 26 miles and you are on the last stretch,” he said.
“You can see the finishing tape and you need extra energy generation to get there.
“Hence, this is why we are asking all our corporate trusts and community and individual supporters to help us in the period of mid-winter to achieve that target of £2 million.”
He said those supporting the appeal included Highland Council’s Inverness Common Good Fund, the Robertson Trust and Tulloch Homes.
A recent Burns Supper, held at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, raised a commendable £23,000. It was sponsored by Home Farms, Argyll and Sutherland Properties, the Eastgate Centre, Kingsmills Hotel, Ness Castle Lodges and Loch Ness Water.
Mr Sutherland also thanked the Courier team for helping to publicise the appeal from the beginning.
“The amount raised is testament to all those who have relentlessly dug deep to support us from organising community facilities to simply putting a few pounds in a can,” he said.
Laura Mackintosh, Highlands and Islands head of fundraising for the ARCHIE Foundation, agreed.
“Our supporters have been phenomenal in their efforts this far,” she said. “This is a perfect opportunity for any schools and community centres across the Highlands and Islands who have not been involved already to come into our fundraising drive on the last lap.
“ARCHIE Highland will support, on the ground, any organisation which wishes to help whether it be a school, community centre, or an individual.”
* Further information is available by calling the ARCHIE Highland office on (01463) 888258.