Musselburgh man takes on 'epic' challenge to raise money for air ambulance charity who saved daughters life

Young girl’s life saved by Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance
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An East Lothian dad has spoken of the moment he learned his young daughter had been in a car crash which left her fighting for her life.

Tom Haratty’s daughter Keira was seriously hurt in a head-on crash in June 2017, when she was 11. Keira was airlifted to hospital, where she underwent life-saving surgery. Tom and his wife Leigh were in Nottingham at a music festival when they heard about the crash. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I was in bits,” said the 39-year-old. The couple were a 10-hour drive away from their daughter’s bedside, but Tom said his brother Michael “dropped everything and got there straight away.” He added: “He was a godsend.”

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Together, the brothers have now completed an ‘epic’ 290-mile expedition for the charity which saved Keira’s life. The brothers, who were born and raised in Musselburgh, hiked and kayaked from their hometown to Dornoch, to raise money for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA). Tom, 39, said he wanted to “pay them back” for what the charity did for his daughter.

Tom and his daughter Keira in 2017, shortly after her accident.Tom and his daughter Keira in 2017, shortly after her accident.
Tom and his daughter Keira in 2017, shortly after her accident.

Keira, now 17, made a full recovery, thanks to the efforts of healthcare staff and the emergency services. Tom said: "There’s no words to thank them all. I will worship the police, the ambulance service, the air ambulance service, and the NHS for the rest of my life.” The brothers decided they wanted to give back, so they chose to raise money for the SCAA – which is funded by public donations. The pair set themselves the challenge of hiking and kayaking the 290-mile journey from Musselburgh – where they were born and raised – to Dornoch, where Michael now lives.

Despite intense training, Tom and Michael struggled with the journey at first. After a challenging first couple of days, with next to no sleep, Tom said: “We were shattered, and close to breaking.” However, the brothers never considered giving up the challenge. Tom said: "From me to have given up, I would have had to break a leg. The air ambulance service don’t get to quit when they’re fighting for someone’s life, so I was never going to quit.” With the help of their support team, and many kind strangers who they met along the way, the pair reached Dornoch after 15 days of walking and kayaking. “I was exhilarated and really relieved to have completed it,” said Tom.

So far, the brothers have raised over £14,000 for SCAA. However, the pair are determined to meet their target of £35,000, which will pay for 14 call-outs. You can donate to Tom and Michael’s fundraising page on JustGiving.