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Highland 90-year-old Margaret Payne hits £400,000 mark in stair climb fundraiser for charity

By Gregor White

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Margaret Payne at her Ardvar home
Margaret Payne at her Ardvar home

A great-grandmother climbing the equivalent of the height of Suilven on her stairs has passed the £400,000 mark with her effort.

Margaret Payne (90) has also received a greeting from the other side of the world from a fellow climber inspired by her effort.

The two-month fundraising challenge, which will benefit NHS charities, Highland Hospice and the RNLI, will see her climb the staircase at her Sutherland home 282 times – the equivalent height of 2398ft high Suilven, which she first scaled as a young girl.

Initially, she had hoped to raise £10,000 for the NHS and Highland Hospice but her total spiralled as the effort captured the public imagination.

Mrs Payne is delighted with the support from the public and is urging people to keep on giving.

"It is wonderful," she said. "I never dreamt it would make this sort of money.

"I am managing to keep going. I am gradually getting there.

"Some days I manage to do the stairs four or five times, so I must be getting fitter!"

Her daughter Nicky, who is with her, also posted an online greeting from New Zealand posted by her friend Julie Wagner, who she supported at base camp last November when she became the oldest woman in the world to summit Ama Dablam.

Ms Wagner was 66 when she climbed the 22,494 ft high peak in Nepal.

In a video message she hailed Mrs Payne for her achievements to date "for such a great cause". She said Nicky had given her encouragement and support on her effort. "I offer you support for your climbing goal as a much younger climber."

Another message from a Donna Jones and family states: "Walking that distance in a straight line is amazing but doing it whilst climbing stairs is just incredible.

"Your generation just keeps on reminding us of the rewards of putting others before ourselves. Keep going you super woman."

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore, who hit the headlines as he raised millions of pounds for the NHS by completing 100 laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday, Margaret began her challenge on Easter Sunday and completed three flights before lunch.

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Related article: Great grandmother (90) hits halfway point in her Highland mountain challenge

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