Walking Away from Malaria

The boots might have been made for walking, but they raised a lot of money for charity as well.

Braehead shop girls Roisin Lowrie and Laura Sparkes trekked the 96 miles of the West Highland way to help orphans and vulnerable children in Gambia. And along with four fellow-walkers, they raised more than £1000 for the Fresh Start Foundation, which supports children in the West African country.

Roisin, 22, from Linwood and 19-year-old Laura, from Partick both work at the health and beauty products store, Lush, in Braehead. Lush are partners of the Fresh Start Foundation and continually raise money for the charity.
Roisin said: “We hadn’t really done any training for the walk and it was really hard work. I had to push my body to the limit, but at the same time, it was a lot of fun.

“We told people we met on the walk about the charity and they donated money there and then.”

Laura said: “We camped out in tents during the seven-days we were walking. We decided that if we had enough money for hotels then it should be donated to the charity.

“It was tough going sometimes, but we kept our spirits up by singing as we walked along.”

Both Roisin and Laura had visited Gambia earlier this year to help renovate a school in the village of Kwinella as well as repairing fencing, planting trees and teaching youngsters English.

Roisin continued: “We were determined to do the walk for the kids in Gambia and when things got a bit tough I looked at photographs of the youngsters in Kwinella I had with me and that gave me the motivation to keep going.”

Other members of the fund-raising West Highland Way walking group were Rebecca Riddick, who works in Braehead’s Wallis store; Martin Connaghan, who works in Primark, in the mall; along with friends, Danta Adams and Aiden McClure.

Braehead’s assistant marketing manager, Joanne Quinn said: “Roisin and Laura did a great job not only walking the West Highland Way, but organising the trip as well.

“They are very committed to helping the children in Gambia and I know they’re planning even more fund-raising events.”