TWO brothers from Musselburgh will face a gruelling 250-mile walking and kayaking challenge across Scotland as they bid to fundraise for air ambulance medics who helped save a family member.

Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) was one of two helicopters attending a head-on car crash near Spean Bridge, in the Highlands, involving Tom Hanratty’s 11-year-old daughter in 2017.

The 39-year-old operations support manager at a gas turbine repair facility, who now lives in Perth, believes the speed, professionalism and expert care of the air resources sent to the accident scene that day undoubtedly saved his daughter Keira, who is now 16.

He and his brother Michael, 38, who runs Carnegie Whisky Cellars in Dornoch, will join forces to raise £35,000 – the equivalent total cost of an emergency life-saving response by SCAA every day of their 14-day challenge.

The intrepid siblings, both former pupils of Pinkie St Peter’s Primary and Musselburgh Grammar Schools, will start their charity quest at the Pinkie playing fields on Monday.

Tom said: “We were born and brought up in Musselburgh so that’s where our journey will start.

“The goal is then to reach Michael’s business at Dornoch on May 22 – the 10th anniversary of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.”

'Our family owes them everything'

The route will see the duo set off on foot from their former primary school and walk to the Lochrin Basin at Edinburgh, before kayaking the Union Canal to Falkirk and the Forth and Clyde Canal to Torrance.

It’s then five days of walking the West Highland Way to Fort William before taking to the kayaks again for the Great Glen Canoe Trail.

The final part of their epic journey will see them walking the John O’Groats Trail, before a kayak across the Dornoch Firth and a short walk to the Carnegie Whisky Cellars.

Tom said: “Keira was critically injured in that accident and required speedy transfer to hospital and life-saving surgery.

“Our family owes the air ambulance service everything for saving my daughter.”

He added: “Nearly six years on, she’s made a remarkable recovery, although she still has scarring and suffers from anxiety in the car. The fact that we have her with us, however, is thanks to the amazing work of the air ambulances and their crews.

“Each flight costs SCAA £2,500 and it is vital that we keep this service funded so that other individuals and families may have this incredible support should they ever need it.

“Words cannot describe the gratitude I feel for these heroes every time I look at my little girl.”

East Lothian Courier:

Tom Hanratty with daughter Keira

The brothers have been training with daily runs and regular kayak outings.

Michael said: “This trip will be gruelling and exhausting – with lots of challenges along the way – but if we have to suffer for 14 days to help SCAA ease the suffering of others, then it’s all worthwhile.”

Claire Taylor, SCAA community fundraising officer, said that the charity was “extremely grateful” to the Hanratty family.

She added: “To have Tom and Michael arrange this amazing fundraising challenge to express how much the charity has touched their family is just wonderful. We can’t thank them enough for all their support and wish them a safe and successful journey.”

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