A CARNOUSTIE family has been overwhelmed by the generosity of residents in Angus and Tayside.
Ayley and Chloe Hirsch, who suffer from a form of cerebral palsy that severely affects their movement, hoped to raise £80,000 to pay for corrective operations.
After just a few short months of fund raising, Averil Fleming, the twin’s mother, said that not only had the target been reached, but it had been completely smashed.
On Thursday morning Averil called the Guide & Gazette to give the latest running total, and in a shock announcement gave the figure as £106,000.
This means that not only can the family pay for operations for both girls, but the remaining money will go towards the expense of physiotherapy and after-care.
Averil said: “We’ve had so much support these last few months, and there are still events to come.
“With this extra money we’ll be able to pay for physiotherapy for longer.”
On Wednesday the family was presented with a cheque for £7,727.61 by Co-operative regional manager Michael McArthy who organised a fund-raising weekend that involved all 16 of the stores in his area.
The stores which are all located along the east coast each held fun days, with activities such as ‘throw the sponge at the manager’, raffles and bucket collections.
Averil said: “That was just a fantastic result, and we’re very pleased.”
Also this week was a cheque from Carli Roberts, a little girl from Forfar who raised £377 in a sponsored bike ride round Forfar Loch.
An evening of hypnotism in Dundee on Saturday also proved a success with participants raising £783, hopefully of their own free will.
Averil said: “That was a very successful and very funny evening, and Debbie Douglas did a great job of organising everything for that.”
Two other events at the weekend saw Mark McQuillan successfuly take a sky dive and Carnoustie girls Kerry Gunn and Nicole McQueen complete a sponsored walk from Carnoustie to Ninewells and back again.
Ian Fleming, grandfather to Ayley and Chloe, organised a golf day at Carnoustie that took place on Sunday and raised £1,600.
Sporting celebrities mixed with locals and according to Averil it was a fabulous day with everyone having a great time.
On Wednesday, the Corner Hotel in Carnoustie held a well subscribed quiz night with teams of four paying £20 to enter.
Tomorrow (Saturday) Sue Murray will host a horse racing night at the Kinloch Arms Hotel. Tickets are £5 and it will start at 7.30 p.m.
Although the girls are on the waiting list for their operations next year they still haven’t been given a solid date, and it could be as late as September before this happens.
Averil said: “I spoke to the doctor on the ‘phone the other day and he told me that his schedule for January hadn’t been released yet, so we’re still waiting.”
Now that the cost of the operation has been met, Averil and the family are keen to press on.
She said: “The money is there now, it’s just waiting to be paid.
“There are cancellation dates coming up, but there’s only a couple of weeks notice and we wouldn’t be able to get the girls organised in time.”
The family expressed their thanks to everyone who has given their time and energy to raise money for Ayley and Chloe.
Averil said: “It’s fantastic, we’ve just had so much support from people.”
Although the target of £80,000 has been raised, a significant amount will be needed to fund after-care for the girls and help them make best use of their new-found freedom.
When asked how much this might cost, Averil ruefully replied: “How long is a piece of string?”
Averil hopes that now the target has been reached the family can relax a bit and get themselves organised not only for the twins operations, but also her wedding to Frazer in the autumn.
She said: “Next week is a pretty quiet week for us, but there are still eight or nine events between now and the wedding. Hopefully we can take a wee break now!”