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Cat Ladies complete 32 mile sponsored walk in aid of Claypark Rescues and Culbin Cats


By Garry McCartney

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Debbie, Fiona and Mandy at the start.
Debbie, Fiona and Mandy at the start.

FOUR friends dressed as felines walked 32 miles in eight hours to raise money for a cause close to their hearts.

Debbie Hutchison, Fiona McClenaghan, Mandy Clinch and Debbie’s daughter Sam Weston, accompanied by rescue dogs Mollie, Nell and Alfie, completed the sponsored walk from Grantown-on-Spey to Wellhill at the edge of Culbin Forest on in aid of Claypark Rescues and Culbin Cats.

Fitness instructor Debbie and Fiona had also previously organised a fundraising exercise-a-thon, where participants did an hour’s workout of their choosing while donating £5 to the heartfelt cause.

Debbie said: “The walk was all about enjoying the day and raising awareness of Claymore Rescues and Culbin Cats. We had a fantastic time. It was a great laugh!”

The gang of four were inspired by Lynda Hughes (71), who single-handedly runs a five-star cattery as well as the rescue centre for many other domestic and wild species of animal. Lockdown meant reduced income for both facilities so the pride of cat ladies wanted to help.

They set off at 6am and followed the Dava Way, stopping half way for a picnic lunch then again at the Scurry pool for their dogs to have a rest, drink and play.

Debbie said: “The three girls had tails, ears and face paint, and I had a full cat onesie. We looked like we were on a hen do, dressed up, staggering home! Everyone was certainly in high spirits!”

Prowling across the Dava moor under a blazing sun.
Prowling across the Dava moor under a blazing sun.

They got a few strange looks from passers-by, including other fundraisers on Kiltwalks.

“There were also some funny comments on the way from dog walkers,” said Debbie. "We kept forgetting how we appeared while we talked to them. It was all positive feedback though!”

The women raised a total of £1640 in sponsorship for Lynda.

Sam, Fiona,Debbie and Mandy within sight of Lynda's animal sanctuaries.
Sam, Fiona,Debbie and Mandy within sight of Lynda's animal sanctuaries.

Debbie said: “It was very emotional at the end when we got to Culbin Cats. Lynda was delighted and extremely grateful. She initially wondered, if we managed to raise £100, how many carrots she could buy for Claypark Rescues!

“She now hopes to extend the sheep sleeping area, barn and fencing.

“None of us expected so many people to be so giving and kind. We all feel overwhelmed.”

To find out more about Culbin Cats and Claypark Rescue visit www.culbincats.co.uk/


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