A DUNFERMLINE carer has walked 17 miles on the Fife Coastal Path to help the elderly people she looks after to keep warm this winter.

Laura Paterson, 35, and her 12-year-old son, Taylor, spent around seven hours travelling from Limekilns to Burntisland to fund heated pads to gift to pensioners.

The mum-of-four, who works for Cera, says that she was inspired after hearing about the toll rising heating bills was already taking on the people she visits.

"It came from being on the frontline with them when it was all over the news about fuel prices," she told the Press.

"A lot of the time, we are the only people they see and we are the only people they speak to.

"One service-user was sitting in the dark because he was worried about his bills, he was going to bed early because he was so cold.

"All the elderly feel the cold more than we do."

She continued: "I thought, what can I do to challenge myself?

"I looked into it and there wasn't anything which ticked all the boxes, I picked a route which was challenging but not too difficult!"

And she even managed to rope Taylor into joining her, allowing her eldest son to spend some quality time with his mum, while also providing her with company during the trek.

"He likes a challenge, he likes to push himself," Laura said.

"He thought it was a boat trip when I first sent him the link! Then I had to tell him what it was and he still said OK."

The pair set off at 10am on Friday, November 4, reaching their destination by 5.30pm with just a pit-stop in Dalgety Bay to refuel with a steak bridie and cup of tea.

"The path at the end was difficult," the mum added.

"It got dark quickly at Aberdour and walking the coastal path in the dark was really difficult.

"We used Taylor's torch on his phone but it was scary – there aren't street lights or anything – my son phoned my husband's and said we didn't know where we were.

"He said to just leave the path when we could – we climbed up a grass verge with our walking sticks and over a fence but I lost my phone!"

Thankfully, Laura's phone was returned to her four days later when it was discovered by a resident, despite attempts by her and her family to search for it.

Originally, she had hoped to raise enough money to buy heat pads for each of the patients she sees on her regular round – about 20 elderly people – but ended up setting a target of £1,000 to kit out the 102 service-users cared for by Cera.

"I thought, 'How can I single them out?'" she explained.

"I raised more than I hoped – I set a target of £1,000 initially but that was over what I needed.

"I managed £780 in total and found a supplier where they are £6.99 each, the extra will be used to buy wee gift bags, just something a bit extra.

"I told a couple of them that I did the walk – I could barely move the next day – but they don't know what I've done it for!"