The bandsmen who have for years added an authentic Scottish soundtrack to the annual Budapest Burns Supper are to walk the 96 miles (154 km) of the West Highland Way in a bid to raise funds for this year’s Robert Burns International Foundation charity project: a HUF 29 million (EUR 105,000) appeal to reconstruct a five-bed intensive care unit at the II Department of Paediatrics, Semmelweis University, Budapest.
The nine-strong group plan to leave Milngavie, the traditional starting post for the long distance route close to Glasgow, at approx 9 am on Friday, 29 March and will hopefully arrive in Fort William on Tuesday, 2 April. Along the way they will have taken in some of the most beautiful of Scotland’s scenery, from lowland moors, dense woodland and rolling hills, to high mountainous regions in the Scottish Highlands.
These environments provide habitats for a diverse range of wildlife species, both flora and fauna, and for five days and four nights will also be home to pipers Rab Tait and Grant Munro, and drummers John Benson, Steven Brown, Miles McIntyre, Michael Rutherford, and Barry and Colin Wilson. Kirtstie Tait, Rab’s youngest daughter, will also accompany the men.
“We have decided to wild camp,” explains Rab, “which basically means we will only have the provisions, clothes and sleeping equipment we can carry. We have never done anything like this before, and as pipers and drummers are not known for our fitness levels!”
The bandsmen have supported the RBIF for 10 years, performing at its Burns Night events and often attending at their own expense, as well as playing at St Andrew’s Night suppers and visiting orphanages, schools and hospitals in Budapest. Now they are hoping to raise much needed money for what Rab calls “a truly worthwhile cause”. You can sponsor the bandsmen (and one daughter) direct, via PayPal, or with a bank transfer to the RBIF account.
The II Department of Paediatrics is putting an additional HUF 11 million (EUR 40,000) of its own limited funds into the project, which will see the ICU completely reconfigured and renovated with new wiring, cables, alarms, breathing apparatus and a spare generator in the event of power failure. Two of the beds will be in protective isolation areas, but all five will be independent of each other, with their own monitoring and resuscitation equipment and a dedicated nurse. In addition to serving the hospital itself, the ICU will be the weekend emergency unit for Budapest.
For more information on the Robert Burns International Foundation, the appeal and the West Highland way, follow the links below.
Prepared for the Robert Burns International Foundation by Robin Marshall MBE of Devil’s Advocate Communications as a pro bono service.