KIND-HEARTED shinty players from Aberdour and beyond have clocked up thousands of miles to raise more than £20,000 for charity.

Niamh Donnelly, who plays for the Silver Sands-based club's senior women's team, and Jenny Durkin led a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support by organising a 'March in March' over the weekend of March 6-8.

Co-ordinated by the Women's Camanachd Association (WCA), they encouraged as many clubs and players to get involved and show support to their fellow player and friend, Una Henry, who has been given a devastating cervical cancer diagnosis.

Niamh and Jenny invited participants to 'virtually' walk 217 miles – the distance between Aberdour, Una's Shinty club, and Glenullin in Northern Ireland, her GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) team – and 17 clubs from both countries took part.

As well as walking, some of those getting involved to raise funds for Macmillan – which is supporting Una following her diagnosis – chose to run, cycle and even swim to help swell the total to £20,611 at the time of going to print.

The event began 48 hours before International Women's Day, which Niamh felt "really inspired everyone", as she explained: "Una is being supported by Macmillan and it’s a charity that is very important to a lot of women in our sport. We wanted to give something back.

"This challenge has been great in so many ways. The total tally rising has just been unbelievable. It has given so many shinty players a lift to know that they have been part of something so meaningful and felt part of a team and community again.

"Usually, this would be pre-season for shinty. The challenge has helped teams connect and you can see on Strava that folk have really pushed themselves with so many recording their longest run, walk, cycle or workout for this challenge.

"We hope that this money raised can be as beneficial to Macmillan, as doing this challenge has been to the women's shinty community."

Lisa MacColl, founder of and lead coach with Aberdour, is also the president of the WCA, and said: "Macmillan Cancer Support is a fabulous charity near to the heart of many of the Women's Camanachd Association committee.

"When we heard our friend from the Aberdour and Glenullin team was being supported by Macmillan, we were keen to get on board and put the March in March challenge out to clubs.

"The response from Scottish clubs and her home club in Ireland plus others has been incredible. With little shinty for the last year and no international, it’s amazing to see the shinty, camogie and GAA community pulling together to strengthen the bonds of our Gaelic sports.

"On behalf of the WCA, I would like to thank each and every participant and sponsor who have helped raise a staggering and vital sum for this charity."

Louise Mackay, a relationship fundraising manager with Macmillan Cancer Support, added: "I have been blown away by the support the shinty community has shown Macmillan and their friend, Una.

"They’ve shown what it means to be part of a team and part of a community, taking on countless miles and going the distance. It’s just been incredible to see unfold online.

"We anticipate a loss in our fundraising revenue this year and are doing everything we can to limit the impact of this on our services. Our number one priority is to do whatever it takes to support people with cancer in every way we can. The pressure on our frontline services has never been greater and Macmillan desperately need funds to keep providing our vital support.

"So, from everyone at Macmillan, a huge thank you to Niamh, Jenny and all the women across shinty and camogie for their unbelievable support."

The WCA's fundraising page remains open, and can be accessed at