Army officer and businessman take on Tweed Challenge
Friday June 8th – Friday June 15th
A Scottish businessman and an English soldier will be swapping their respective desks and tanks for a kayak in June in a bid to navigate 97 miles of the mighty River Tweed. Their aim is to raise at least £30,000 and prevent 300 veterans from becoming homeless.
Lt Col Nick Woolgar, 46, and investment manager Jamie MacLeod, 49, are undertaking the challenge to support Veterans Aid, a charity that provides immediate, practical support for ex-servicemen and women in crisis.
Both men are novices on the water – but no slouches in their chosen careers. Nick, who was commissioned into the 1721st Lancers in 1991, has commanded Challenger tanks in Bosnia and led capacity-building teams in Somalia. Jamie, whose investment career spans more than 25 years, was MD of Scottish Widows Fund Management at 29 and is presently CEO of Bordier UK. He married and lived in Jedburgh.
But between 8-15 June the men will be well out of their respective comfort zones.
Jamie said: “My concern is river conditions. The Tweed can be brutal and easily rise 10 feet or more in 24 hours after heavy rain. It can become dangerous after rising just two feet.
“This was a big decision for us. Prior to approaching VA, we studied the charity and its management team. We concluded that they were a very high-quality group of professionals, doing something special in a crowded charity environment. They have disciplined processes; tremendous transparency and they really care about helping veterans out of difficult situations. They do a lot more than ensuring ‘no first night out’ and what they have achieved in recent years is truly impressive.”
Nick said: “We’ve pledged to paddle the nearly 100 miles of the River Tweed, from source to mouth, by kayak to raise funds for this inspirational charity. Despite having no experience, we will paddle (or carry!) our 14ft kayak the full distance over six days. All money raised by the tweed Challenge will go towards something vital and unique. It will fund Veterans Aid’s emergency interventions – the immediate actions that prevent ex-servicemen and women in crisis ending up as rough sleepers.”
CEO of Veterans Aid, Ayrshire-born Wg. Cdr. Dr Hugh Milroy, said: “We have many supporters, and all are valued, but what Nick and Jamie have undertaken is truly astounding. Their target of £30,000 was set with the informed goal of funding a pathway off the streets for around 300 veterans. Their Just Giving site (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nick-woolgar) explains how.”
Dryburgh Abbey Hotel said: "Woow what a challenge Jamie and Nick have set themselves and for such a deserving cause. We are delighted to support Jamie and Nick on their Tweed Challenge and wish them both all the best. Jamie has been a yearly regular guest at the hotel for almost 20 years and we are sure there will be many more to come. Good luck to you both from all at Dryburgh, we will see you half way, take care."
EDITORS NOTE: More information about Nick, Jamie, Veterans Aid and The Tweed Challenge can be found at https://veterans-aid.net/tweed/ . Their Just Giving site is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nick-woolgar and a short film can be found here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nick-woolgar
Media Facility: There will be an opportunity to speak to Jamie and Nick at 5pm at their half-way point - on Tuesday 12th June at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, St Boswells, Melrose, Scottish Borders TD6 0RQ
Veterans Aid – Glyn Strong (firstname.lastname@example.org or 07806 920087) (*Excluding June 7-12)
Veterans Aid - Hugh Milroy (email@example.com or 07962 108852)
*The Tweed rises in Scotland, and serves as a border with England before ending at Berwick. Just under 100 miles in length, Britain's international river steers an extraordinary course through Scotland and England on its way to the North Sea. Its source is Tweed's Well in the Lowther Hills, six miles north of Moffat and located inside the western half of the Southern Uplands - the rugged border country that, in the past, governments in London found so difficult to subdue.