The Archie Foundation

2 October 2018

Breath of Fresh Air for ARCHIE sick children

A Fort Augustus business has sailed in with a major sponsorship in support of a fundraising campaign to create an outdoor space at the Highland Children’s Unit.

Leading north cruise company, Cruise Loch Ness has donated £9000 to sponsor a 30ft tall topiary Nessie which will form the centrepiece of the gardens which are being designed to transform the outdoor space at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

The Fresh Air Project was launched last year by ARCHIE Highland to raise funds for the project at the Children’s Unit, which was completed in 2016 following a £2m fundraising appeal spearheaded by the charity. 

The Highland community has rallied again to support the fundraising efforts, which have been spearheaded by a board of local business leaders with the aim to raise £160,000 during 2018 so work on the garden can begin early 2019.

The gardens are designed to be accessible in all weathers, showcasing local landmarks and attractions with vibrant colours and fun topiary animals, which will provide a warm welcome to children and their families and offer a safe outdoor space near the unit. 

With the support of Cruise Loch Ness, which operates two passenger vessels and three high-speed ribs on the Loch, the Fresh Air project is on target to meet the fundraising goals to forge ahead with the plans.

Mary Nimmo, chair of ARCHIE’s Highland fundraising committee and partner at Highland law firm Munro and Noble, said: “Our vision to create a much needed, accessible outdoor space for children and their families is becoming a reality.   We are overwhelmed that local business owners Ron & Debi Mackenzie have come on board with their donation to support this project.  It is very fitting for them, a longstanding cruise business on Loch Ness giving locals and tourists the opportunity of spotting the famous Loch Ness monster Nessie whilst visiting the Highland Children’s Unit. 

“The garden is set to be created in 2019 and we are hoping that other local businesses come forward to sponsor the other topiary animals which will make the outdoor space truly come alive.  It will be a dream come true and we cannot wait to see the faces of the families and children visiting the hospital.”

Debi Mackenzie, director of Cruise Loch Ness said: “We are passionate about supporting people in the communities we work and live in and when we heard about this amazing project and the opportunity to sponsor Nessie we didn’t think twice about supporting this project.

“This year we are celebrating 50 years in business and we couldn’t think of a better year to get involved in a project like this. Visitors come to Inverness from all over the world hoping for a chance of spotting the famous Nessie and now we can make local families dreams come true by bringing Nessie to life on dry land.”

The final major fundraising event of the year for the Fresh Air project is a Moonlight Ball which is being held on 9 November at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness.  Some tables are still available for the event and the board is still looking for auction prize donations.