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Steven's long-distance challenge 'will truly change lives' as £46,000 cheque is handed over


By Alan Hendry

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Alan Mackenzie (left), of MFR Cash for Kids' local executive board, accepting the cheque from Steven Mackay this week. Picture: MFR Cash for Kids
Alan Mackenzie (left), of MFR Cash for Kids' local executive board, accepting the cheque from Steven Mackay this week. Picture: MFR Cash for Kids

A Highland-based charity for disadvantaged children says Steven Mackay's latest long-distance achievement "will truly change lives".

Steven completed a gruelling journey around North Coast 500 on foot and by bicycle within 10 days in May.

It was his third fundraising challenge for MFR Cash for Kids and has generated £46,188. The cheque was handed over this week.

Alan Mackenzie, a member of MFR Cash for Kids' local executive board, met Steven to thank him and to explain what a difference the money will make.

Alan said: "We are so overwhelmed by the support Steven has given us. This will truly change lives.

"Our last grant round was at the start of June, so most of the funds raised by Steven have already been distributed. Thanks to him we’ve purchased communication aids for children who are non-verbal and specialist beds for children with complex needs, we've funded young carer breaks, summer play schemes for families who struggle during the school holidays, and much more.

"Some of the funds have also allowed us to purchase basic essentials for children and families who are struggling financially. Without Steven’s help we would have had to reject so many applications. We simply can’t thank him enough."

Steven Mackay and fellow runner Seana Forbes making their way past Sinclair's Bay, with Keiss Castle in the distance. Picture: Alan Hendry
Steven Mackay and fellow runner Seana Forbes making their way past Sinclair's Bay, with Keiss Castle in the distance. Picture: Alan Hendry

Inverness-based Steven (41) is a former Ross County and Brora Rangers footballer who stood down recently from his role as Elgin City assistant manager because of his work commitments with an oil and gas-related firm.

He set off from Inverness on May 20 and had intended to run the full NC500, but switched to cycling for most of the route after being affected by injury. He completed 218 miles on foot and 298 miles by bike.

Pebbles Sawyer, from Spittal – one of the many children who have benefited from the charity – was among those greeting Steven when he reached the finishing line at Inverness Cathedral. She had also met Steven at John O’Groats on day three of his challenge.

Pebbles, who has spina bifida, was able to receive a specialist all-terrain wheelchair as a result of Steven’s fundraising for Cash for Kids last year. She had her own fundraising page.

During the challenge Steven's progress was hampered when he snapped a bicycle chain and was forced to switch to a mountain bike.

In June last year, Steven raised more than £20,000 for Cash for Kids after running four marathons within 24 hours from Wick to Inverness. He managed 104.8 miles in 23 hours and 39 minutes to complete the challenge on his 40th birthday.

The year before, he did an 80-mile run from Inverness to Brora in around 18.5 hours, raising more than £17,000 for the same cause.

Steven Mackay and fellow runner Seana Forbes heading out of Wick during the NC5000 challenge in May. Picture: Alan Hendry
Steven Mackay and fellow runner Seana Forbes heading out of Wick during the NC5000 challenge in May. Picture: Alan Hendry
Eight-year-old Pebbles was able to complete a short section of the route with Steven. Picture: MFR Cash for Kids
Eight-year-old Pebbles was able to complete a short section of the route with Steven. Picture: MFR Cash for Kids
On the last stretch into Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay
On the last stretch into Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay
A hug for Steven Mackay from his niece Ellie Fraser at the end of his NC500 challenge in aid of MFR Cash for Kids in May. Picture: Callum Mackay
A hug for Steven Mackay from his niece Ellie Fraser at the end of his NC500 challenge in aid of MFR Cash for Kids in May. Picture: Callum Mackay
Steven meets up with Pebbles Sawyer at the finishing line in Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay
Steven meets up with Pebbles Sawyer at the finishing line in Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay

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