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Fundraisers take West Highland Way challenge

More than 180 accountancy, financial and investment sector companies have registered to compete in the 2003 State Street Caledonian Challenge.

Companies including Scottish Widows, the Dunfermline Building Society, Nationwide, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Norwich Union, Standard Life Investment, Axa and Gerrard are to take part in what is billed to be Scotland&#39s biggest outdoor fundraising event.

The Challenge&#39s main sponsor, Boston-based State Street, will also have a team involved.

On June 21 and 22, teams of four from each entrant will aim to walk non-stop for 54 miles along the West Highland Way, which takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland. The teams are hoping to raise funds for local charities and community organisations throughout Scotland.

Last year 1,500 walkers took part in the event, and raised £975,000.

The money is distributed by the Scottish Community Foundation to organisations as diverse as the North Airdrie Music and Arts Project in Lanarkshire, The Hospitalfield Organic Produce project near Dundee, and the Highland Basketball Club in Inverness.

Inspiration for the challenge came from Hong Kong&#39s Trailwalker event on the MacLehose Trail, where teams walk 62 miles through mountains to raise money for charity. Angus MacDonald and Alex Blyth wanted to bring a similar challenge to Scotland and so founded the Caledonian Challenge in 1996. Only 16 walkers took part in the first challenge, which raised £16,000.

Event director David Fox-Pitt says: “The challenge is a great team bonding experience and many companies use the event for exactly that.

The sense of achieve-ment after walking 54 miles is compounded by the knowledge that all the monies raised will directly benefit thousands of lives across Scotland.”

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