Feb 4 2011 by Yonnie McInnes, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
AYRSHIRE Hospice chaplain Ian Stirling will be facing his own personal challenge this September.
But he’s really looking forward to it as he’ll be leading a party of hospice supporters in The Rockies Trek which will, hopefully, raise a lot of much needed funds for the charity.
“It will be the adventure of a lifetime and a real challenge,” said Rev Stirling.
The trek will see a party of up to 25 people flying from Glasgow to Canada and spending six days trekking through fabulous scenery, starting from Jasper.
The venture will take a total of nine days and during the trek the party will see some fabulous sights – glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, and canyons, which are to be found in abundance in Banff and Jasper National Parks.
The group will be accompanied by experienced guides who will also share their knowledge of the area with the trekkers making it a fascinating trip, I’m sure.
To take part you must be 21 or over on the date of departure.
“Each and every one of us on the trek will have their own personal motivation for taking on the challenge,” said Mr Stirling.
“But for me it means much more than a trek in the mountains.
“First of all, the trek is a memorial walk. It comes at a time when I will have worked in the hospice as chaplain for almost a decade.
“During this time I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know a huge number of inspirational figures: ordinary Ayrshire folk.
“I have got to know them at a particularly vulnerable time of their lives.
“But more often than not it is I who have benefited from the encounter.
“They have put my life into perspective.
“Some have shown in their lives what it means to ‘live with cancer rather than die from cancer’.
“Many have taught me to live in the here and now.
“These people have filled their lives with small goals, and inspired me by their courage and humour and resilience.
“For example, being able to zip wire in a wheelchair, to ride a horse for the first time in 30 years; to just get out of bed and see the cherry blossom in the secret garden, or to paint with watercolours.
“Their names are written and etched into my mind – never to be forgotten.
“Secondly, the trek for me is a personal commitment.
“Over the past 22 years the hospice has relied on the goodwill and support of the people of Ayrshire.
“And although I work within the hospice, this is my personal challenge to be part of that vast team of people who keep the hospice going.
“People who share the vision of a community of care.
“To raise the necessary funds I am planning a pub quiz, concerts, and a Tea at Three event in June.
“Ayr Rugby club are also allowing me to take a bucket collection at their home game against Doncaster on Saturday, February 26.
“Lastly, the trek for me will be a spiritual journey and a physical challenge and I hope that my knees last out.
“I have set up a Just Giving site www.justgiving.com/ian-stirling and I would love to raise more than the required £3500 for the trek.”
To register for this once in a lifetime trip, or to find out more, call the hospice fundraising department on 01292 288488 or email email@example.com