A Kirriemuir family have been recognised on BBC’s The One Show for raising more than £150,000 for charity.
Liam and Ashley Wilkie were given Thursday night’s One Big Thank You for their support of BBSUK, which helps those with Bardet Biedl Syndrome.
Their eight-year-old daughter Caitlin is one of just seven Scots youngsters suffering from the little-known genetic condition that threatens to take their sight before the teenage years.
Photoshoot leads to big surprise
Viewers saw the rugby-mad family, including Caitlin’s sister Niamh, being taken to what they thought was a simple photoshoot to model Scotland’s kit.
They were filmed showing off their skills, and Liam is seen lifting the famous Calcutta Cup trophy.
They were then taken to a nearby training field, where Scotland’s national rugby team were going through their paces.
To the family’s shock and delight, Kirriemuir brothers Matt and Zander Fagerson made their way over at the end of the training session.
Kirriemuir player hails ‘incredible’ efforts
Matt, who has made 36 appearances for the national team, told the family: “We want to thank you for raising £150,000 for BBSUK and want to say One Big Thank You from The One Show and Scottish rugby for everything you have done.
The brothers were then shown gifting the family shirts and a trophy to Caitlin, which she proudly held.
The family also featured in a team photograph.
The prime-time programme then showed the family being invited to Murrayfield, where Caitlin delivered the match ball ahead of Scotland’s match against Italy in July.
One Show presenter’s video message
Video snippets of family and friends praising the family were also shown.
Irene Pattullo, Ashley’s mum, said: “They have put their heart and soul into raising awareness into the syndrome.”
Family friend Karen Stewart said that thanks to their fundraising efforts “people have made new friends.”
Louise Lodge was with daughter Cailey. She said: “As a parent the support you get from meeting other people who are in the same position as you are has been incredible.”
One Show presenter and former footballer Jermaine Jenus said: “The time and dedication you have put into raising awareness of the rare genetic disorder BBS is beyond extraordinary.
“The money you have raised will benefit families for years to come. We are sure Caitlin is so so proud of you.”
There was additionally a message from Robert Robertson, frontman of Tidelines – Ashley’s favourite band.
He said: “Just to say, how totally in awe we are of all your work raising awareness and, more importantly, funds in the fight against BBS.
“Your work is totally incredible.”
Six years since Caitlin’s diagnosis
Liam and Ashley’s fundraising campaign began after Caitlin’s diagnosis in 2017.
They recently led a Scotland team in a challenge called Carry the Gene.
It was this initiative – which saw a baton transported by runners, walkers and cyclists from John o’ Groats to the Borders – that led to the Wilkies being invited to Murrayfield.