Gorgie City Farm volunteers walk over hot coals to raise cash

VOLUNTEERS at a popular urban farm facing closure will walk over hot coals to help save it.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 10:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 12:34 pm
Gorgie City Farm staff and fundraisers prepare for their firewalk on Saturday. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Around 24 people who work at Gorgie City Farm have signed up to take part in a sponsored firewalk on Friday evening.

The daredevil group will risk their soles to cross an 8ft stretch of smouldering embers in their bare feet – with the braver ones doing it more than once.

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Between them, they have already taken more than £3000 in pledges.

Rachel Francoeur, education officer at the farm and chief organiser for the event, said: “Everybody is having dinner parties and book sales to raise money.

“I just thought we needed to do something a bit more ‘out there’ just to show how far we are willing to go to save the farm.

“A lot of people were nervous, but the younger girls who work at the farm – those in their 20s – were all for it.

“It was the lads we had to coax into it, and that was a bit of a surprise.”

The event will be coordinated by Soulfire, one of the UK’s longest established firewalking companies.

Company director Lee Walls said the group would take part in a motivational workshop to get them “geed up” for the main event.

She added: “If you can walk across hot sand on the beach you can do a firewalk.

“The secret is to walk quickly.”

The group will then walk across the burning coals in front of wellwishers and family members at the farm.

Josiah Lockhart, general manager of the farm, revealed that the campaign has now raised £45,000 in just five days – almost half the money needed to save the farm.

And that figure does not include the donations collected in several Sainsbury’s stores, with the supermarket giant agreeing to extend its collection to the end of the week.

Spiralling running costs and a slump in external funding led to an urgent plea on Saturday for £100,000.

The farm has been running for more than 38 years but financial struggles in recent months led to the closure of its cafe in January.

• To donate to the firewalkers, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/Gorgie-Fire-Walkers. People can also text “FARM44 £5” to 70070, visit www.justgiving.com/gorgiecityfarmassociation or send a cheque to Gorgie City Farm, 51 Gorgie Road, EH11 2LA.