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By Hugh Boag
More than £200,000 has been raised for charities on Arran by shoppers at the island’s three Co-ops in just five years.
That is the remarkable amount paid out by the Co-op community fund which last weekend handed over another three huge cheques to good causes on the island.
The latest round saw a total of £38,572.23 raised by shoppers’ rewards which are given to a community charity of their choice.
The Isle of Arran Music School Pipe Band was one of the recipients and last Friday afternoon the competition band played outside Lamlash and the two Brodick Co-ops to thank everyone who had donated to the cause.
A total of £11,491.82 was raised for the youth pipe which will be used to kit out the band members in their first kilts of the island’s own tartan which they can wear with pride at performances, events and national competitions.
While attached to Arran High School, the pipe band have had to raise all the money themselves for their equipment and uniforms. Arran Pipe Band has also helped with a £5,000 donation.
The second recipient, and the one with the highest sum raised, was the Arran Mountain Rescue Team which received £15,403.82.
It used £8,000 of the donation to purchase a drone with thermal imagining to improve its capabilities when searching for missing people.
On receiving the cheque, chairman Ali Hume said: ‘We cannot thank the Co-op customers enough for this generous donation which will be put to good use by the team.
‘The new drone will be of great assistance in locating potential casualties in difficult terrain far quicker than waiting for the deployment of a helicopter.
‘Drones and dogs are great tools to assist our work but they cannot beat boots on the ground.’
The third recipient was the Arran Youth Foundations which received a cheque for £11,676.59.
It plans to use the money to provide trips and activities for young people during their school holidays; including a trip to Alton Towers, go-karting, paintballing, gorge walking, paragliding and abseiling.
The community fund has now nationally raised more than £100 million for charity.
Brodick Co-op manager Liz Mclean said Arran stores raised one of the highest amounts in the whole country.
She said: ‘Thank you so much to all the Co-op members in this amazing wee community.
‘We are indeed all in it together and you have helped our local causes to benefit to the unbelievable sum of £38,572.23.
‘Thank you to every single one of you for your continuing support.’