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Former pupils return to lead sponsored walk

Published: 25 September 2018

Former pupils return to lead sponsored walk

Almost 50 years since they led their school in a sponsored walk, a group of former pupils from Dollar Academy are headed back to their old “stomping ground” for another fundraising mission.

The group, now in their 60s, is returning to raise more funds for our 50th anniversary. The sponsored walk they inaugurated continues to this day raising funds for a variety of charities. Last time it was held it raised more than £54,000. This year members of the original organising committee and their family and friends will lead around 1,000 pupils on a 12-mile walk through the Ochil Hills on Friday 28th September.

One of the co-founders who organised the first walk in 1969, Stuart Twaddell, said there was a time when they thought they’d be walking out the door rather than into the school’s history books:

“We were greatly inspired by all the student demonstrations we’d seen on television throughout 1968 and as we were cooped up in a boarding school we were frustrated that we couldn’t be part of it. Then we watched the documentary play Cathy Come Home and became even angrier at the social injustice of slum housing. We were getting into a fair bit of trouble and to divert our frustration our young housemaster suggested we ask permission to hold a sponsored walk to raise money for Shelter, which was just getting set-up in Scotland at the time. To our great surprise the rector agreed and we spent a few months organising a route and raising money. In the summer term of 1969, we led the whole school of about four hundred pupils 20 miles along public roads and raised £2,200 - which was a very significant sum in those days.”

Stuart Twaddell added:

“As Dollar Academy made the walk into a tradition we’ve decided to come back with some friends and family and take part once again. Our group will be raising funds for Shelter Scotland in its 50th year. It’ll be a real honour to help lead the event and to help the school celebrate its 200th anniversary.”

Dollar Academy is marking its bicentennial, making it the UK’s oldest co-educational day and boarding school.  The walk set-up by the pupils in 1969 ran every year for a while and then every two years raising funds for six charities on each occasion. This year Shelter Scotland will benefit once again, as well as six other beneficiaries chosen by the school’s charities committee: the Uphill Trust, Mary’s Meals, Alzheimer Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie, CHAS and Seamab School.

Amelia Bryce (Staff Coordinator of Charities Committee) said: ‘We are delighted to be able to make these donations to such worthy causes. We are especially pleased that Shelter Scotland, the charity we supported back in 1969, will be one of our beneficiaries again. Our pupils are very aware of how important it is to help others and how lucky they are to be able to do so.’

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“Thousands of people went on sponsored walks to raise funds to get Shelter Scotland up and running and we are grateful to each and every one of them. I’m not aware of any other walks that kept people out of trouble with their headteacher nor any that became a tradition, so Dollar Academy’s walk is certainly a special event.

“It’s tremendous to see Stuart and his friends getting back together to help us in our 50th year. We at Shelter Scotland would all wish to be no longer necessary but sadly there is still a shortage of good quality affordable housing and we still rely on people being angry about that and channelling that anger into action that can make a difference. I’m extremely grateful to everyone at Dollar Academy for raising funds for us and hope this year’s walk is their best yet.”

The walk will take place on Friday 28th of September. You can donate online at their fundraiser page.

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