How It All Started
The Charity has arisen like a phoenix from the ashes of my beloved family. My wife Ann, 10 year old daughter Niamh and 7 year old daughter Ciara were all killed in a car crash on Wednesday January 9th 2008, near Montrose in north east Scotland, on their daily journey to work and school respectively.
At the time the tragedy and subsequent funeral received a lot of media coverage. I made the request that they be remembered by donations to charity rather than flowers, but I was totally unprepared for the consequent huge inflow of funds. However I did remember that Ciara and Niamh were always enthused by their school’s efforts to raise money for the charity Lepra, during the weeks of Lent which lead up to Easter.
The pupils were asked to bring things into school to sell at breaktimes and my children were always baking cakes/biscuits with their mother to support the cause! To be honest I didn’t take too much notice at the time, other than picking up the general idea that Lepra supported the treatment of leprosy and lepers, predominantly in India and Brazil. However I was pleased that Niamh and Ciara recognised that there were people far less fortunate than themselves and they wanted to do something to help.
I decided that what was good enough for them was more than good enough for me and thus sent off over £10,000 to Lepra, a sum which was then doubled by the incredibly generous sponsorship I received when I ran the Cape Wrath Marathon four months later.
In due course I was contacted by the peerless and indefatigable figure of Ros Kerry, Lepra’s chief representative in Scotland, thus beginning a friendship which persists to this day. Ros informed me that, rather than simply absorbing the money into their general operational funds, Lepra had decided to use all my donations to support just one project; the Koraput Referral Centre in India. Furthermore Lepra wished to dedicate all the Centre’s work to the living memory of Ann, Ciara & Niamh and wanted me to travel to India to see their legacy in action.
I duly visited Koraput in March/April 2011 and whilst there unveiled the commemorative plaque which connects a remote tribal area on the subcontinent to a small fishing village in Aberdeenshire, an odyssey chronicled elsewhere on these pages.