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Fundraiser John putting in 'oars' of graft in Aviemore

By Gavin Musgrove

An Army veteran will certainly be splashing out at Tesco in Aviemore today.

Inverness fundraiser John Baillie has brought the next leg of his epic rowing challenge to the supermarket.

He is tackling one million metres without ever needing to get onto the water.

Instead the superfit 76 year old is clocking up the miles on his trusty rowing machine in aid of the veterans charity Erskine.

John Baillie who is rowing one million metres in aid of the Erskine charity.
John Baillie who is rowing one million metres in aid of the Erskine charity.

The former S/Sgt 2/51 Highlands Volunteer served in the Adjutant General’s Corps and his service included three tours of Bosnia during the 1990s.

After returning to Civvy Street, John worked in security and delivery for Tesco.

He is combining his experience as a veteran, shop worker and fundraiser to raise money and awareness for Erskine.

John said: “I’m doing a special tour of my own to help support my fellow veterans.

"I’m rowing in local supermarkets around the Highlands and in my local gym without actually moving an inch.

"Having served in the Army, I’m well aware of the difficult experiences so many service men and women go through.

"Erskine do a wonderful job caring for veterans and their families, and so I felt taking on this challenge is the least I could do for them, whilst also keeping myself fit.

"I hope that locals and visitors to the store in Aviemore today will see what I’m doing as unique and exciting.

"The fact I’m rowing over 620 miles and am 77 on my next birthday will hopefully mean they’ll chuck a few quid into my collection bucket!”

John has already been busy with public rows at Tesco stores in Inverness, Elgin and Dingwall.

He recently reached the 650,000 metre milestone, during two days rowing at the Victorian Market in Inverness.

Michael Parkes, Erskine’s community fundraiser for the North, said: “It’s an honour that John is supporting Erskine with this incredible challenge.

"John speaks very passionately about his time in the Army and his various charity work over the years.

"His phenomenal efforts will help us to continue to support almost 1,000 veterans each year through our accommodation, activities and employment.”

People can also support John's efforts at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/john-baillie4 .

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