No place like gnome as grandad walks 40 miles round garden

Alan Harper, 76, wants to raise money for bereavement charity Richmond' Hope.

No place like gnome as grandad walks 40 miles round garden

A grandfather is raising money for charity by walking at least 40 miles around his garden dressed as a gnome.

Alan Harper, affectionately known as ‘Gnomey’, is backing bereavement charity Richmond’s Hope, which has supported thousands of children and young people who have suffered the loss of a parent.

The 76-year-old, of Crook of Devon in Kinross-shire, said the “terrific” charity, co-founded by a Church of Scotland minister, was close to his family’s heart and would likely be needed more than ever due to the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 1300 lives in Scotland so far.

Mr Harper, an elder at Fossoway St Serf’s and Devonside Church, said: “I am on the shielded list because I have a mild form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and currently in total lockdown, confined to my house and garden.

“I am not allowed to go out for a walk so I am walking around my garden 20 times each day for at least 20 days.

“Twenty times round the garden is just over two miles or 113,700 steps over 20 days and I am now into my eighth day.

“So far I have raised more than £1500 which is very humbling and people have said they will double their donation if I dress up as a gnome and they see a picture of me.”

Mr Harper said his Church of Scotland minister son, Rev Dan Harper, and his friends nicknamed him ‘Gnome’ many years ago because of how he looked one day when he was cleaning out his garden pond.

His granddaughter Zoe, the minister’s daughter, affectionately calls him Gnomey.

Mr Harper, who has launched an online Just Giving page, said: “I decided to fundraise for Richmond’s Hope because of the increased need to support bereaved children during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many people have and will suffer the loss of parents, grandparents, siblings, near relatives and friends.”

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