Coronavirus: 90-year-old Margaret Payne raises £75,000 for NHS by climbing the equivalent of Mount Suliven on her stairs

Pensioner taking on challenge to say 'thank you' to NHS workers

Sarah Young
Friday 17 April 2020 11:36
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Captain Tom Moore completes 100th lap as he raises more than 12m for NHS

A 90-year-old woman is climbing a mountain on her stairs to help raise money for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Margaret Payne, from Ardvar, Sutherland, is aiming to scale the equivalent of Scottish Highland mountain Suliven (2,398 ft) with 282 trips up the stairs in her home.

Mrs Payne, who has lived in the highlands for more than 40 years, said she thinks the challenge will take her two months to complete and made her first ascent up the stairs on Easter Sunday.

She is taking on the stair-climbing challenge several times throughout the day, starting in the morning once she is ready and finishing in the late afternoon.

The pensioner has also launched a fundraising page and set herself a target of raising £10,000 for the NHS.

“At 90 I am planning to climb the equivalent of Suilven, 2,398 feet, in stairs at Ardvar,” Mrs Payne wrote on the page.

“I would like to raise funds to support the NHS in particular at this difficult time and especially in return for the extraordinary support we have received personally at Ardvar. In addition we are giving some support to the Highland Hospice.

“Here we go,starting Easter Sunday...three flights before lunch today. Raining and windy outside but warm going up and down the stairs!”

Since launching the appeal, Mrs Payne has surpassed her initial target by raising an incredible £74,769 for the NHS.

The challenge is her way of saying thank you to NHS and hospice staff who took care of her late husband Jim.

Mrs Payne is planning to climb the equivalent of Scottish Highland mountain Suliven on her stairs (PA)

Speaking of the reaction to her campaign, Mrs Payne said: “I think it’s amazing, I wasn’t expecting anything like it – 10,000 thank yous.

“I think it’s brilliant of them all and I feel the NHS really deserve it.

"They have been amazing, each day they are risking their lives.

The 90-year-old has so far raised £75,000 for the NHS(PA)

“My husband died at Christmas and the NHS were absolutely wonderful. So it was a way of saying thank you.”

This is not the first time Margaret has climbed Suliven, having taken on the mountain for the very first time in 1944 aged just 15 alongside her sister Elizabeth.

Margaret is following in the footsteps of army veteran Captain Tom Moore, who completed 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday to help raise money for NHS Charities Together.

(AFP via Getty Images)

When the fundraising campaign began on 10th April, Captain Moore originally pledged to raise £1,000 but has since received more than £18m in donations.

You can donate to Mrs Payne's Suliven climb here and Captain Moore’s fundraiser here.

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