Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling has given his backing to a Dundee fundraiser in memory of a man who died from prostate cancer.
A group of 16 men, all over the age of 60, are travelling from across the globe to walk the West Highland Way between May 26 and 31 for charity.
Called Band of Brothers, they are taking on the 96-mile trek over six days in memory of Stuart Fraser, who died in September last year, a month before his 68th birthday.
The 1,000 Years Hike – so called as it is the total of all the participants’ ages – has already brought in more than £11,000.
Originally from Dundee, Stuart settled in Ashtead, Surrey, with wife Anne and worked as an engineer.
A keen golfer, walker and gardener, the father-of-two started getting a sore back and, after realising it could be a symptom of prostate cancer, he took tests which later confirmed his diagnosis.
But although treatment seemed to be going well initially, it was withdrawn last summer and he received palliative care until his death.
People are travelling from as far away as Canada, Singapore and Switzerland to take part in the walk.
And their efforts have been backed by Stelling, who is also an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK.
He met three of the walkers at the Invercarse Hotel in Dundee and offered them some words of encouragement.
The Soccer Saturday star – who recently announced he will remain as the show’s host – said: “When I saw the wonderful countryside they’d be travelling through, I was sorely tempted.
“However, family and business commitments mean it’s impossible for me to join them.
“However, I’ll be with them in spirit. What they’re doing, and all the work they’ve done in publicising the walk, is absolutely fantastic and I take my hat off to all the walkers.
“I’m sure they’ll enjoy a beer or two after each leg. They’ll deserve it.”
Stuart’s brother Garry, 65, who lives in Dundee, said: “Increasing people’s awareness of the walk gives us a realistic chance of meeting the £30,000 we hope to raise.
“Support from high-profile folk like Jeff is invaluable to our cause and we are incredibly grateful that he gave some of his time to meet us and talk about the walk.
“Few of us have the opportunity for regular walking in this kind of terrain, but some of the brothers are experienced walkers with a couple who have already completed the Way.
Stuart’s memory ‘perfect incentive’
“I’ve done the Way twice already, both times for charity, and after the second I decided to call it a halt.
“However, when I heard about this venture I couldn’t say no to having another crack at it. Doing it with some of Stuart’s closest friends is an added bonus.
“Not only that, but Prostate Cancer UK was a great help to Stuart latterly, and I know hundreds of other sufferers have benefited from their support. So it was, as they say, a no brainer.
“It’ll be a challenge for 16 over-60s, but we’re all up for it. Doing it memory of Stuart gives us the perfect incentive.”