Glasgow & West Scotland

Climbing challenge to fund bothy in honour of son

Olly Jones Image copyright PA
Image caption Olly's dad says he was a "fun-loving energetic outdoors sort of boy"

A father is aiming to climb the height of Mount Everest to raise funds to build a bothy in memory of his son.

Olly Jones, 12, was knocked down and killed in Innellan, near Dunoon, Argyll and Bute, in 2016 while coming home from school.

His parents were helped through their grief by friends and family giving them the chance to get away for a break.

They now want to create a dedicated retreat for people facing similar circumstances.

As part of the fundraising efforts, Olly's dad, Martin, a law lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, is planning to scale Bishops Seat in Argyll and Bute 18 times over six days.

That will see him cover a little more than the 8,848m (29,029ft) height of Everest.

Along with Olly's mum, Sam, Mr Jones formed a charity named Olly's Wee Bothy and plans to build accommodation somewhere near Dunoon.

More than £20,000 has already been raised for the project.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Martin Jones will begin the climbing challenge on Tuesday and hopes to complete it over six days

The climbing is due to begin on Tuesday with support from the local community.

Mr Jones is using local bunkhouse Pucks Rest as his "basecamp" for the hike rather than returning home each day.

He said: "The idea of the charity is for parents like us who suffer the death of a child to provide some support in the sense that they have somewhere to escape to.

"Our inspiration for this was that after Olly died in August 2016 we had a lot of people offering us a stay in their holiday home.

"We had quite a lot of offers to get away and did eventually take up an offer and spent Christmas in Ireland. It was somewhere we had never been as a family and I think that is one of the important things about the idea of having somewhere that you can create new memories."

'Emotional storms'

He added: "Olly was a fun-loving energetic outdoors sort of boy - he loved camping, sailing and being in the hills.

"The charity is rooted in the community and Olly's classmates have helped raise money, and locals have organised their own fundraising events for us.

"One real plus for locating this challenge near the town is that it allows locals to join me for a leg. One of the legs on Friday August 17 is being thrown open to anyone - we are doing a star walk going up by torchlight."

Although named Olly's Wee Bothy, the building will be more of a holiday home to "offer shelter from emotional storms".

Mr Jones said: "You want to just find that place, maybe where you haven't been before, and somewhere you can begin to think about re-framing your life.

"We were lucky in that we had people in our networks able to offer us this, other people might not be so lucky."

The charity's initial aim is to raise about £50,000 before looking at land to build and pursuing wider sources of funding.

Mr Jones added: "Olly loved the outdoors and whereas a mountain bothy provides free accommodation to shelter from the elements, our bothy will be a freely accessible refuge from the emotional storms that come with losing a child."

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