Treasure trove windfall for heart charity

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Nearly 200 people attended this year’s charity Treasure Hunt, raising nearly £350.

The annual treasure hunt was started by NHS Western Isles, on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, in September last year.

This themed refocus was in response to dwindling numbers on the BHF Annual Walk. Back in 2013, NHS staff met with staff from Pursuit Hebrides and together they took on the job of arranging the Treasure Hunt. The clues included questions on keeping a healthy heart and, on a drizzly Saturday morning, 77 eager treasure hunters walked, jogged, skipped and bounced their way through the Castle Grounds in Stornoway, navigating clues, completing challenges and following their authentic treasure map, before finding an overflowing treasure chest. The feedback was extremely positive with many hoping it would be an annual event.

In response to the feedback, another Treasure Hunt was organised this year on September 20, and the aim was to attract 100 participants. The event was promoted through email, posters and social media – Facebook being particularly busy. With many enquiries, but only 25 participants pre-registered, organisers anticipated similar numbers to last year.

Registration opened at 10am on a fresh Saturday morning and eager treasure hunters began to pour in. It quickly became clear that there was more than 70 participants, many more! The final count showed 198 attending, raising £348.

The enthusiasm of those involved is what makes this event so successful. Clues and challenges are completed with fun and excitement. It’s a great walk, in beautiful surroundings, that really gets the heart rate up. It provides fantastic promotion for the work of the British Heart Foundation, which is referenced throughout the treasure hunt and in the promotional material picked up at the end (as well as the ‘heart’ themed photos that people were able to take on the way round).

The community has embraced this event; it’s something they look forward to, providing a great family bonding experience which is loved by the kids and brings out the ‘young at heart’ side of the adults.

This year the money raised will be donated to Lucky2Bhere, a Skye based charity that provides defibrillators and other life saving equipment and training to both the general public and health professionals.

The charity has provided defibrillators to many rural communities across Skye and the Highlands, some extremely remote, and this year, has installed several defibrillators across the Western Isles. The charity’s fundraising activities focus on initiatives related to exercise, health and wellbeing.

Roll on Treasure Hunt 2015!