“You’re as vital as the NHS” – that’s the message from a team of paramedics from across Scotland who have banded together to fundraise for charities in need of extra support due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 30 frontline staff have been completing five kilometres every day in May, fitting in their challenge around their demanding shifts.
From Oban to Helensburgh, the team has been sharing their progress so far with STV News.
Friends Heather Findlay and Cheryl Pyott, who are both paramedics, helped to organise the challenge.
The money raised through a GoFundMe page will split the total between five groups including Sepsis Research (FEAT), Marie Curie, and the mental health charity Young Minds.
Heather, 35, is based at Glasgow East Ambulance Station and has been with the Ambulance Service for 19 years.
Heather said: “We were just so humbled by the outpouring of kindness we have received that we just wanted to see what we could do for others.”
Team members are finding different ways of completing their 5k a day. Some are running, others cycling or walking, taking their children and dogs along for some exercise too.
One team member even squeezed in a quick 5K on a treadmill in between waiting for call-outs during a nightshift.
Cheryl, who is based at Springburn Ambulance Station, has been with the ambulance service for 12 years after previously qualifying as a nurse and working at Glasgow Royal.
“It’s amazing to raise money to help these fantastic charities but it is also a brilliant boost to our mental health, being physical and knowing you’re making a difference to someone during these very difficult times.”Cheryl Pyott, Paramedic
She said: “It’s amazing to raise money to help these fantastic charities but it is also a brilliant boost to our mental health, being physical and knowing you’re making a difference to someone during these very difficult times.”
Heather and Cheryl have been joined in their fundraising push by 35 other friends and colleagues including Paul McNab, from Glasgow, a paramedic in the Special Operations Response Team.
On their GoFundMe page, the fundraisers said they had taken their lead from the inspirational Captain Tom Moore and “realised that if this gentleman can get off the sofa and achieve what he has, we can move our bodies a bit more in the pursuit of funding too”.
Details of Heather and Cheryl’s fundraising can be found here.
They had originally set a target of raising £1000 but have already surpassed that with the current total standing at over £5500.
Colin Graham, Sepsis Research FEAT’s chief operating officer, said: “This is a magnificent gesture by a paramedic team who work under trying conditions at the best of times and are under even more pressure because of the pandemic.
“We are very grateful to them and to all their friends and colleagues for thinking of us in these difficult times.”