Collieston community welcomes intrepid fundraiser
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A Fife man who is on a 600 mile trip of Scotland's coastline chose Collieston as his latest stop to lay his head.
Upon his arrival yesterday evening (Tuesday) kayaker Jack Gatacre was greeted by Gordon MP Richard Thomson, The Fisherman's Mission's superintendent Sandy Garvock and members of the local community.
Inspired by his girlfriend's father, who recently retired from a 50 year career in the fishing industry, Jack is well on his way to hitting his £10,000 target for The Fisherman's Mission - the only fishermen’s charity that provides emergency support alongside practical, financial, spiritual and emotional care to fishermen (active or retired) and their families.
He set off on August 1 from his hometown Pittenweem, and made his way in his kayak across to the west coast using the canals and River Forth, up towards the north passing the islands of Arran, Jura and Mull.
He crossed back to the east coast through the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness before returning to the North Sea on the coast of Inverness and is now making his way home along the country's east coast.
The Fisherman's Mission became his chosen charity after having seen and heard first hand of the harsh conditions in which fisherman work.
The socially distanced gathering on Collieston's beach provided a warm welcome for Jack after another challenging day at sea.
MP for the area, Mr Thomson was amongst the first to congratulate Jack on his efforts and thanked him for choosing to visit the village.
Commenting, he said: “I was delighted to help welcome Jack to Collieston on the latest leg of his voyage around Scotland.
“He has been on the water in challenging conditions – the recent heat, Scottish winds and some rainy days - but this of course pales in comparison to the sacrifice fishermen and their families make to put food on our tables and the work undertaken by the Mission to support fishing families in the face of adversity and need.
"Jack’s fundraising efforts are incredible and I commend him on supporting the work of the Mission.”
Explaining more about his intrepid fundraising venture, Jack said: “I’ve given myself two weeks to get from Pittenweem and back around Scotland – missing out the very north on the advice of my girlfriend’s father.
"The challenge was something I always wanted to do so I’m raising money for The Fishermen’s Mission in honour of him retiring this year; starting and finishing where he has fished also seemed special.
“I’ve done between 40 and 50 miles each day and have been treated to some wonderful scenery – it has been stunning so far.
"I’ve faced some really strong wind changes and the weather can change at the drop of a hat but, other than occasional loneliness it’s really enjoyable.
"It’s totally different to fishing as I don’t sleep on the kayak, can get up when I like, do the amount I like and have control over that.
"Fishermen don’t get that luxury.”
So far, Jack has raised almost £7,500 and garnered charitable sponsorship from the Co-op, Fisherman’s Friend, G and J Wilson Fishmongers of St Monans, Jellyexpress, clothing producer Akbaslar, wood resin manufacturer Repair Care, Blakemore (Spar) and Farmfoods.
The Fishermen’s Mission's Sandy Garvock said: “What Jack’s doing is phenomenal – raising funds and awareness for The Fishermen’s Mission.
"Awareness is a huge part of our work and this is a great way to garner more public support and involvement.
“As an emergency, 24/7 service, we support fishermen past and present around the whole of the UK from birth to death with anything that they need.
"We offer assistance relating to their welfare and well being, and are grateful for the support of individuals like Jack.”
You can donate to Jack's efforts by visiting: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jack-gatacre1.