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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Fundraiser, 96, gifted new wheelchair after accident

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Tom Gilzean hopes to keep collecting after breaking his neck and back in a fall

A 96-year-old fundraiser has been gifted a new wheelchair six months after breaking his neck and back in a fall in his Edinburgh home.

Tom Gilzean has raised more than £157,000 for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF), but has been recovering in hospital since the accident in May.

Shortly before Mr Gilzean’s fall, managers at the foundation learned his electric wheelchair was in dire need of repairs, jeopardising his future fundraising efforts.

The charity issued a call for help on behalf of the Second World War veteran, which was answered by medical equipment supplier Fast Aid Medical and Mobility which gifted Mr Gilzean with a top of the range new powered wheelchair.

I’m still recovering from my accident, but I hope to be out and about on my new scooter as soon as I can

Mr Gilzean said he now hopes to return to the capital’s streets wearing his trademark tartan trousers and carrying his collection tin as soon as he is fit.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Fast Aid has given me this new mobility scooter so I can continue with my fundraising.

“My old one was very worn out and the wheels didn’t do well in the cold weather and would slide about a lot, so I’m really glad to not have that issue anymore.

“Raising money for SKFF is a very important part of my life and I am incredibly grateful to the people of Edinburgh for all the support they have given me over the years.

“I’m still recovering from my accident, but I hope to be out and about on my new scooter as soon as I can. I want to keep collecting for charity for as long as I am able.”

Mark Anderson, from Fast Aid Medical and Mobility, said after reading about Mr Gilzean’s plight in a local newspaper he jumped at the chance to help.

He said: “We’re delighted that we have had this opportunity to help out Tom. He has done so much fantastic work for many charities, the Sick Kids Friends Foundation in particular, and is a true inspiration.”

Mr Gilzean, who first began collecting for SKFF after his wife Anne died, was named Fundraiser of the Year at STV’s Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes awards and become the eighth person to receive the coveted Edinburgh Award in 2015.

Pippa Johnston, director of fundraising and marketing at SKFF, said: “Tom is an inspiring man who has dedicated so many years to giving back and we continue to be overwhelmed by the huge amount of support that he gives to patients and their families.

“We are very fortunate to have someone who so selflessly gives up his time for the good of the Edinburgh community, so when we discovered he had a plight of his own, we knew there would be others out there who are just as kind-hearted as he is and who would come forward to help him.”