Over 500 Scottish charities are to share a £1.4 million windfall from one of Scotland’s largest fundraising events - despite it being cancelled by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers of the Glasgow Kiltwalk announced the fund would be distributed amongst 530 local foundations after generous would-be participants raised more than £720,000 even after the marathon walk was cancelled due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Billionaire Sir Tom Hunter agreed to match any donations through his Hunter Foundation in a bid to help the charities survive in “extraordinarily tough times”.

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The event was due to take place on Sunday, April 26, but fell victim to the pandemic after mass gatherings were banned.

The Aberdeen Kiltwalk was also postponed due to coronavirus but the events scheduled for Dundee and Edinburgh, due to be held on the 16 August and 13 September respectively, are still currently going ahead. 

Sir Tom praised the efforts of fundraisers for continuing to donate in “extremely trying circumstances,” adding it would keep hundreds of organisations across the country afloat.

He said: “Scores of Scottish charities are facing the reality of having to close their doors completely, with devastating consequences for so many great causes.

“The Kiltwalking heroes have responded magnificently, raising £720,000 in extremely trying circumstances - it shows the very best of Scotland.

“Their generosity and care for others is overwhelming and I'm honoured that The Hunter Foundation is able to match those funds pound-for-pound, meaning over 500 Scottish charities will get the funds they so desperately need in the next couple of days.”

Kiltwalk chief executive Paul Cooney added: “The coronavirus outbreak has brought hundreds of charities all over the country to their knees, because fundraising has virtually ground to a halt. That means many of the most vulnerable people in our society are suffering enormous hardships, so we really want to thank every one of our fundraisers for stepping into the breach.”

A record 13,000 people participated in the 2019 edition of the walk, raising more than £3.5 million for a range of charities across the country.

More than 6,500 Kiltwalkers gathered at Glasgow Green to step out on the 23-mile Mighty Stride and then 3,700 began a 15-mile Big Stroll, while 2,800 completed the six-mile Wee Wander. 

Judy Murray and broadcaster Jackie Bird were among those who donned tartan to take part in the walks, which finished at the Kiltwalk village in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.

Kirsten Sinclair, chief operating officer of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, which benefits from the event, said the donations would be the difference between many organisations “shutting their doors and keeping going”.

She added: “It’s heart-breaking when charities are being forced to turn away people in real need because of the coronavirus outbreak, but the fact that so many Scots have persevered with their Kiltwalk fundraising is fantastic, and to have Sir Tom and the Hunter Foundation match those funds means an enormous amount at such a difficult time.”

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Paul’s Parcels in Shotts is a food poverty prevention group now supporting 45 families. In the last week, eight of those families have asked for support. 

Founder Tracey Duffy said: “The £190 raised by our Kiltwalkers would pay for eight food parcels. Now that The Hunter Foundation has doubled this amount to £380, 16 families in Lanarkshire will receive essential food supplies. 

She added “Thank you, Sir Tom, for your Kiltwalk Kindness.”