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Alan Harper gnome 1 banner.jpg
Alan Harper gnome 1.jpg
Church of Scotland
UK News

Christian man walking 40 miles in garden dressed as gnome for charity

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian grandfather in Scotland is on a mission to raise money for a bereavement charity by walking at least 40 miles around his garden dressed as a gnome. 

Alan Harper, who is affectionately known as "Gnomey", is making good use of his time during the coronavirus lockdown by keeping fit and backing Richmond's Hope, which has supported thousands of children and young people who have suffered the loss of a parent. 

The 76- year-old grandfather told Premier his nephew challenged him to do 20 walking laps of his garden every day, which amounts to around 44 miles. Harper said he decided to take on the feat but thought he might as well do it for a good cause. 

Harper, an elder at Fossoway St Serf's and Devonside Church, said: "I am on the shielded list because I have a mild form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and currently in total lockdown, confined to my house and garden. 

"I am not allowed to go out for a walk so I am walking around my garden 20 times each day for at least 20 days. 

"Twenty times round the garden is just over two miles or 113,700 steps over 20 days and I am now into my eighth day.
 
"So far I have raised more than £1,500 which is very humbling and people have said they will double their donation if I dress up as a gnome and they see a picture of me." 

Mr Harper said his Church of Scotland minister son, Rev Dan Harper, and his friends nicknamed him the Gnome many years ago on account of how he looked one day when he was cleaning out his garden pond. 

Harper, who has launched an online Just Giving page, said: "I decided to fundraise for Richmond's Hope because of the increased need to support bereaved children during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"Many people have and will suffer the loss of parents, grandparents, siblings, near relatives and friends.

"A family friend died recently and left behind his wife and six year old daughter who is supported by Richmond's Hope so we just feel as a family that it is a charity that is very close to home. 

"A lot of people are going to need counselling because they won't have been able to have been with their loved ones when they have died and they won't be able to go to funerals. 

 "It is going to be a very difficult time so that is why I want to do what I can to help support the fantastic people at Richmond's Hope who help and support so many others." 

He told Premier he will do the walk rain or shine and will probably continue after he reaches his goal, just for the benefit of exercise.
 
Listen to the full interview with Alan Harper here:

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