War veteran’s hilltop challenge for charity

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An Aberdeenshire war veteran is preparing to spend 72 freezing hours on Bennachie for charity.

Lionel Holmes will live alone without shelter at the summit of the Garioch peak for his Mountain Squat Challenge.

Newburgh police officer Lionel Holmes who is preparing to spend three nights on the summit of Bennachie for charity.

Newburgh police officer Lionel Holmes who is preparing to spend three nights on the summit of Bennachie for charity.

The police officer, from Newburgh, is raising money for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

His fundraising effort will begin at midday tomorrow (Friday) and end at midday on Monday.

The father of two young girls, whose military service saw every major conflict since the Falklands War, told the Times why he decided to do the challenge: “Four years ago I left the military after 30 years and joined the police because I really wanted help people, make a difference in society.

“I’ve done various activities but really wanted to do something for charity and help people. I needed to do something different and my wife found CHAS on the internet.

“At the end of the day they look after children who are terminally ill and they help the parents of those children deal with what’s inevitably going to happen.

“So that’s why I chose CHAS. I think it’s a great cause and I think they do fantastic work and it’s a shame there‘s only two of them in Scotland.”

Lionel, 50, said he was ideally equipped to face the Bennachie challenge.

He said: “I looked at what I was good at, maybe doing a bit of parachuting or abseiling out of a helicopter. But my wife brought me back down to earth - she told me that I’m really good at sitting around doing nothing.

“So I thought where can I sit around and do nothing and thought of Bennachie. I’ll go up there and sit around and do nothing for three days.

“It wouldn’t be a challenge if I took a tent, and it may not be a challenge if I went in the summer so I’ll go up in the winter.

“I’ll improvise, adapt, overcome and sit around for three days and drink tea”

Lionel, who will have a sleeping bag, warm clothing, food and mobile phone with him, won’t mind the cold, he just hopes it won’t rain.

He has raised around £1000 so far but hopes to get as much support as he can for CHAS.

Anyone wanting to donate can visit http://www.justgiving.com/Lionel-holmes2