A 90-year-old Scottish woman just finished climbing the equivalent of 2,398 feet, scaling her staircase daily to raise money for the National Health Service (NHS).
Seeking to entertain herself and stay healthy while in quarantine at home in Sutherland, Scotland, Margaret Payne set out to relive her experience as a 15-year-old girl climbing Scotland’s Suilven mountain. She calculated that the peak of Suilven is equivalent to 282 trips up the stairs in her home.
Payne was inspired to climb for a cause after seeing Captain Tom Moore, the WWII vet who circled his garden with his walker to the tune of tens of millions of dollars for the NHS, on television.
Her daughter, Nicky McArthur, told her, “Look at what Tom is doing. We should turn your stair climbing into something.”
She began the fundraiser on Easter Sunday, and on Tuesday, she reached the top of the mountain, surpassing her fundraising goal of 10,000, stacking up $521,000 in donations.
“I just climbed a few stairs every day until I got to the top, 282 times,” Payne told The Associated Press.
Payne has two artificial knees— one that she says is “rather old.” She claims her knees “know when she’s climbed too many stairs.”
But she pressed on, pacing herself for 73 days, or just over 10 weeks, taking it one step at a time.
“I think that it is important, as you get old, that you don’t sit back and think ‘I’m getting old, I can just relax.’ If you want to keep going, you must keep active, and keep walking.’’
Payne’s epic climb for the good of her country, where nearly 43,000 infected with the coronavirus have died, has been met with widespread praise.
Fans kept her telephone line busy, calling to cheer her on, and now to thank her or report on her heroic act of generosity. Payne has even been praised by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.
“There could hardly be a better example of this indomitable spirit than your own magnificent efforts in raising money for vital charities,” Charles wrote her a letter. “It is people like yourself who show that, for every hardship there has been a hero – or, of course, a heroine.’’
The half a mil she raised will be donated to the NHS and three other charities she has chosen to honor in gratitude for the excellent care they offered her husband Jim before he died on Christmas Day last year— NHS Highlands, Highlands Hospice and RNL.
As for Payne, she’s looking forward to some well-deserved rest.
Now that she’s completed her challenge, she says, “… I won’t know what to do with myself, will I? Go to sleep for a week…”