Pupils at Dollar Academy are to put their best feet forward in support of a range of charities this week.
On Friday, 28 September, Dollar Academy’s biennial sponsored walk takes place over a 12 mile route in the nearby Ochil Hills.
The event promises to be a memorable occasion as the original organising committee join current pupils to mark a year that is both the school’s 200th anniversary and 50th anniversary of the sponsored walk.
In 1969, some 400 pupils and staff hiked 20 miles on a pioneering fundraising venture that raised more than £2000 for Shelter Scotland, founded that same year.
In 2018, pupils will once again raise funds for Shelter, along with 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.
Borne from a foiled misadventure, the biannual walk has raised thousands for local, national and international charitable causes over the years. In 2015 alone the total was over £54,000.
Former pupil Stuart Twaddell describes the first walk as ‘rescuing something valuable from rebellion’.
Back in the 1960s, he was one of a group of boarders caught breaking school rules and confined to his boarding house as punishment.
He recalls the housemaster advising them to spend their time ‘doing something useful’. Inspired by Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home, they planned a walk in aid of the homeless.
Fifty years on, Twaddell and his co-founders will set out on this year’s 12 mile trek.
The youngest pupils follow a scaled-down version of the walk and around 1000 pupils will head to the hills on a route which takes in Glendevon, Castleton, Commonedge and Auchlinksy Hills, before returning through Glenquey and Dollar Glen.
Amelia Bryce, staff co-ordinator of the school’s charities committee, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to make these donations to such worthy causes. Our pupils are very aware of how important it is to help others and how lucky they are to be able to do so.’