OAP’s Highland ‘mountain climb’ on stairs raises £32,000 and counting

A 90-year-old woman who is climbing the equivalent of a Highland mountain on her staircase has exceeded her target to raise £10,000 for the NHS and a hospice.

Margaret Payne plans to climb the height of Suilven – 2,398ft – by making 282 trips upstairs.

She said 99-year-old veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £18 million for the NHS through a charity garden walk, inspired her to take on the climb.

Mrs Payne started the challenge on Easter Sunday and expects it will take her around two months to complete.

She had raised £1,800 by Wednesday and by Friday morning, her donations had exceeded £32,000.

The challenge is her way of saying thank-you to NHS and hospice staff who took care of her late husband Jim.

She said: “I think it’s amazing, I wasn’t expecting anything like it – 10,000 thank-yous.

“I think it’s brilliant of them all and I feel the NHS really deserve it.

“They have been amazing, each day they are risking their lives.

“My husband died at Christmas and the NHS were absolutely wonderful. So it was a way of saying thank-you.”

After seeing the efforts of Capt Moore, Mrs Payne was inspired to do something to give back to health staff.

Mrs Payne, who lives in Ardvar, Sutherland, said she was never a hillwalker, having lived with knee problems since she was 12.

Coronavirus – Wed Apr 15, 2020
Mrs Payne said the donations are amazing (Family handout/PA)

Her true passion was fishing and she said she would walk miles to reach the best spots.

She said: “I do walk around the garden, every nice day.

“I’m always afraid of being blown over now so when it’s windy I daren’t go.

“Our house stands rather high, facing the prevailing winds so it asks for it a bit.”

Mrs Payne takes on the stair-climbing challenge several times throughout the day, starting in the morning once she is ready and finishing in the late afternoon.

Her daughter Nicky McArthur believes the fresh air of north-west Scotland has helped keep her mother healthy, adding: “Mum is still incredibly active. She is an avid reader and crossword-doer. I think part of it is just staying interested in life.”

You can donate to Mrs Payne’s challenge at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=MargaretPayneArdvar-SuilvenChallenge&pageUrl=1.

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