Family fundraisers set to hit the heights

Krystin Clyne is preparing to abseil down the Forth Bridge
Krystin Clyne is preparing to abseil down the Forth Bridge
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A retired teacher is ready to jump off a bridge for a charity challenge in memory of her sister and to help raise awareness and funds to further research into the cause and cure of Motor Neurone Disease.

Krystin Clyne, 69, will abseil down the Forth Bridge as a tribute to sister Patricia Blackburn, who passed away last June, less than two years after being diagnosed with the condition.

Krystin, a former headteacher at the Capital’s Kaimes School for pupils with autism, will be joined on the nerve-wracking challenge by daughter Fiona Harris. She hopes to raise funds for MND Scotland to continue its work supporting those living with the illness.

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal condition which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. It can cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.

Krystin recalled Pat as “incredibly brave” while battling the illness, admitting she was nervous about taking on the challenge.

She said: “Pat had a heart for the vulnerable and she enriched the lives of so many with her charitable work. She travelled to Liberia, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi, using her skills to transform the lives of individuals and families.

“She was a loving, lovely, loved granny who was devoted to her husband, children and grandchildren.”

Krystin continued: “Neither of us are into high-risk sporting activities like abseiling down bridges, but we’re both passionate about supporting MND Scotland.

“Having watched my sister cope so bravely with this torturous terminal illness, we want to do what we can to raise money, so that others can benefit.”

Krystin revealed that fundraising for the charity had become a family activity following Pat’s diagnosis, adding: “Pat’s daughter Sarah, a doctor like her mother, climbed Kilimanjaro last year with two friends for MND and raised a few thousand pounds. My son Andrew has run two London marathons in recent years, raising much-needed funds.”

According to figures released by MND Scotland, around 200 people are diagnosed with the condition each year in Scotland, while as many as 450 are thought to be living with the illness.

Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising at MND Scotland, said: “MND Scotland is the leading charity in Scotland providing support to people affected by MND, as well as funding cutting-edge research into a cure. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it weren’t for people like Krystin and Fiona, who are willing to throw themselves into scary challenges to help raise sponsorship.”

He added: “I wish Krystin and Fiona all the best for their challenge and all of the team at MND Scotland will be cheering them on.”