Cunninghame South MSP, Ruth Maguire has vowed to raise funds for an Ayrshire children’s charity from her back garden following the postponement of the Glasgow Kiltwalk.

The MSP will replace the vast space of Glasgow Green for her own back garden and make up the miles on an exercise bike.

Ruth Maguire, who was due to take part in the Kiltwalk in Glasgow this month among thousands of other fundraisers, has pledged her support to Whiteleys Retreat in Alloway following a visit to their facilities late last year.

The charity offer therapeutic respite retreats to children with terminal and life altering illnesses along with their families in a unique setting which offers access to animal, art, horticultural, holistic, music and recreational therapies. Whiteleys Retreat is based in a converted farm in Alloway and was opened in September 2018 thanks to the efforts of supporters and volunteers throughout Ayrshire.

Ms Maguire said: “After seeing first-hand, the wonderful facilities for families at Whiteleys Retreat and hear all about the vital services they provide in such a lovely peaceful setting, I wanted to do my bit towards helping raise funds for them and was looking forward to taking part in the walk with Bernard the Whiteleys manager.

“It is of course disappointing that due to the ongoing situation that the Kiltwalk had to be postponed, but the Hunter Foundation’s announcement that their 50% top up to donations has been increased to 100% is wonderful news for many deserving charities. Many of which are facing their own unique challenges as a result of lockdown measures.

“I had initially thought perhaps recreating the walk in my back garden would be the thing to do but abandoned that after the small laps left me feeling seasick only ten minutes into a practice session. So instead will make up the 25 miles required on an exercise bike in the garden.”

Maxine Allan, the Chief Executive of Whiteleys Retreat said: “ COVID-19 has been a tremendously difficult period for everyone, and small local charities have very much suffered with fundraising events cancelled and no donations coming in. We can’t thank Ruth enough for helping raise funds for us during this time. 

“We have opened our doors to NHS staff for the coming weeks and months during this crisis, and when this crisis is finally over – we must be ready to cope with the huge demand for respite from families who are currently shielding their vulnerable children at home. The need for our vital respite offered at Whiteleys will be even greater!”

The announcement from the Hunter Foundation to increase their donations means that £1.4 million will go to 530 charities across Scotland.

Donations are still open via the Kiltwalk website and can be made to Whiteleys Retreat here.