Two fundraisers who pitted their strength against Scotland’s mightiest and most temperamental waterway to help Veterans Aid combat homelessness have handed over almost £44,000 to the charity after completing a 97-mile sponsored kayak trip down the River Tweed…

Army officer Nick Woolgar and businessman Jamie MacLeod put their kayak into the water after weeks of training and preparation, to undertake a trip that physically challenged both of them to the limit. They battled 10-knot headwinds in some places and carried the canoe between them in areas where the river was too shallow to navigate.

The men, who have been friends for 10 years, were both inexperienced kayakers. Nick said afterwards: “I want to acknowledge the help give to us by Chris Green who gave up every Sunday morning since Christmas to help us train on the River Avon to make sure we were up to the task.

“Veterans Aid is a charity that focuses on homelessness. It is one that I have been following for many years and we felt it would be a particularly fitting one to sponsor. Having done all our checks on them and meeting the CEO we were pleasantly surprised by their wonderful team and their approach to what they do.”

The pair were also helped by Borders-based Robert (Bob) Baird, the man Jamie credits with keeping them safe and making the challenge possible. Jamie said: “Some parts of the Tweed were just too dangerous for us to paddle through blindly. Bob is an expert on the river; he knows where the weirs are and the drops! He was our most critical asset.”

The pair started fundraising three months before the Challenge with a target of £30k – a ceiling they crashed through thanks to outstanding personal effort and support.

CEO Dr Hugh Milroy said: “I can’t describe how stunned we were by Nick and Jamie’s offer to fundraise for us in this way. We rarely single out individuals because every donation, however small, is warmly appreciated, but these two busy men effectively gave up months of their time to focus on The Tweed Challenge. Their commitment to helping us prevent ex-servicemen and women from becoming homeless has been nothing short of inspirational.

“We thought their target of £30k was ambitious. When their Just Givingtotal passed £40k we were speechless! Every penny Nick and Jamie raised will go towards helping the ex-servicemen and women who seek our help. Homeless is something that no-one should have to face in 21st Century Britain and our commitment is to ensuring that it is something no veteran who seeks our help will ever have to endure.”