Monday 15 March 2010

Featured Trekkers

Chris McMail

Chris McMail is Managing Director for Microtech Support Limited and has been since inception in March 1986.

Chris is married to Anne and has two gorgeous daughters Caitlin (10)
and Nicole (6).

"Having successfully completed a trek along The Great Wall of China last year in aid of The Ayrshire Hospice, I agreed in another moment of madness to take on this challenge for this worthwhile charity."

Stephen Roberts

"I live in Symington, am 41 years old, married to Nicola and a father of two small boys (Logan 3, Jackson 18mths)."

"I'm a Director of a company that makes Intensive Care rooms. I don't have any hobbies other than reading, as I spend my time working or with my family. Before I bought a house and a mortgage that could choke a herd of small donkeys, I used to like fast cars. "

Favourite Drink : Jack Daniels
Favourite Sport : Mixed martial arts
Favourite Car : 911
Best day : births of my Sons
Worst Day : likely to be
Thursday March 25th this year!
Second best day : hopefully Thursday March 25th this year!

"My Mum died in the Hospice - which is my connection to Louis and the gang."

John McCallum

"I was so inspired by my experience climbing the Great Wall of China last year to raise funds for the Ayrshire Hospice, punctuated by hearing stories from hospice workers and fellow trekkers who’s families have been cared for and supported by the service, I feel the ever more pressing need to support them during the current economic climate when funding is at its most difficult and challenging, Living in Seamill and have been happily married to Kathleen (also doing the trek) for the past 18 years. We have two fantastic kids Nathan (10) and Elise (8) who keep us busy."

"Left the Pearl Assurance rat race after 14 years and set up an independent financial consultancy in West Kilbride JMC Financial Services in 2003, love life, fast cars especially Aston Martins 6ltr V12, red wine and cultivate my autistic tendencies (or so Kathleen says) being passionate about anything I do. Think the hospice is a fantastic charity and I am delighted to raise money for them at any opportunity."

Kathleen McCallum

"I have lived in Seamill with my husband John (also doing this trek) for the past 18 years & Mum to Nathan (10) & Elise (8). After 15 crazy years in the world of residential child care I took a career break in 2007 to spend more time with my own kids. Needless to say it didn't last long so in between the trips to piano, swimming & drama classes, I manage to find time to run KMC Property Services. I don't have much time for lots of interests beyond business & the kids but I now do a detour via the Seamill Hydro Gym, whilst heading for the chocolate & red wine at the local Co-Op! My new friends treadmill, cross trainer & 3kg have been a great help! Not to mention the great people I meet at the wine, sorry water cooler! You know who you are!"

"Agreed to this mad expedition whilst under the influence of a good pinot noir, it somehow sounded like a good way to celebrate reaching 4 decades old and raising money for this wonderful charity. So I signed up then watched the Comic Relief climb & didn't sleep for a week! However that was a year ago & now here we are & I'm up for it along with the rest of this crazy bunch!"

"I want to thank all of my family & friends for their support & encouragement. A BIG, BIG thanks also has to go to our sponsor The Cafe Palazzo (not just for their special fish) & everyone who has donated or been involved in our fundraising efforts. Will do my very best to see that sunrise over Africa for you all on 26th."

David Ramsay

David Ramsay (41) Director Inspectram Limited

Lives in West Kilbride,
Married to Kathryn, has two children Sarah (9) and Jack (5)

"After spending a considerable amount of time in Africa over the last 12 years the thought of climbing the highest peak seemed very appealing, coupled with raising some money for a very worthy cause. This was enough to make the decision to attempt this challenge (at the time!!)."

Alistair Neill

Alistair Neill is again teaming up with Chris McMail a year after trekking along the Great Wall of China. Although moving to the bright lights of London 6 years ago, Alistair still has family in Ayr and has very personal reasons for participating in this latest challenge after losing his mother to Motor Neurone Disease in August 2008.

"Speaking from personal experience, The Ayrshire Hospice is an exceptional service to patients and familes requiring their care, and the staff and volunteers deserve all the help and credit they get. I'm glad Chris persuaded me to join him. The challenge will be physically demanding but I'm looking forward to the experience, and there is already a wonderful camarederie amongst the group."

Steve Hyde

(turns 50 on the trek)
"I have been all over the world in my time including a year off to travel down under and to Aisa but finally ended up moving to the west coast of Scotland after all that in 1993 following a job move. I am a Project Engineer at BAE SYSTEMS Prestwick."

"I have lived in West Kilbride/Seamill since 2000. Live with partner Anne and I have 2 kids, Angus 11 and Lauren 6 plus 2 dogs. Having followed the other guys doing the China Trek last year I was finally persuaded to do the Kilimanjaro challenge as part of my 50th birthday year (thanks to John McCallum!) in aid of the Ayrshire Hospice, a great cause. This is one of those challenges of a lifetime and I am determined to make not only a complete success of it but also to learn from the experience when I come back a year older than when I left."

Keith Grant

“I’ve presented myself at the door of the Ayrshire Hospice, each day, for the past eight years and they kindly keep letting me in!

I really feel as if I’m part of the team. I get to wear a stethoscope and entertain the patients. At night I go back to the safe house. Christine does a great job of looking after me, and makes sure I’m presentable for the next day. We had three children living with us. But Jennifer (JP) has left home and is learning about socialising at an educational institution in Stirling. Our two remaining charges are Gillian and David. While Gillian (Gilly Bean) goes off skiing in Austria over Easter, poor David (Handsome)will remain at home pretending to study for exams.

All my family, friends and fellow entertainers at the hospice have been very supportive and eager that I took part in this treacherous, perilous and potentially fatal trip. The advert for a replacement at the hospice was I feel overly cautious and a shade premature.

My fellow trekkers have proven a good humoured bunch and we are looking forward to a great adventure together. The piles of cash that has been raised by kind donations for the hospice will serve to push us all up the wee hill.

If I can be permitted to add that the hospice is a wonderful organisation that provides the highest standards of care to patients with life limiting illness and their families throughout Ayrshire. The hospice needs our continuing support.”

Roger Woods

Roger is happily married with four children, 2 boys 2 girls living in West Kilbride, Ayrshire.

Roger started his own business Invincible Security Ltd back in 1994 soon after completing his apprenticeship in Instrumentation at ICI, Ardeer. Since then he has grown the business steadily achieving ISO 9001: 2008 and NSI Gold accreditation.

"This is my first attempt at fundraising and only agreed to the challenge at Xmas so i only had 10 weeks to hit the £3800 target. I thought it was mission impossible but was amazed at the support my friends and family gave at my party auction night whish was a great success. In one night I not only hit my target but exceeded it."

"Thanks again for all who supported me!"

Ian Sey

"I have worked for Chris McMail at Microtech Support Limited for the last six years and have been happily married to Jennifer for the last eighteen months; Jennifer has two great children from a previous marriage Cameron (15) and Lauren (11). Other than work, my time is spent with my family & for the last 8 months at the gym as much as possible. I have always donated money to the hospice whenever I could and this seemed like a great opportunity to raise money for a truly worthy local charity."

Graeme Strawhorn

Graeme Strawhorn is 28 years old and is part of the Fundraising Team at The Ayrshire Hospice where he has worked for 2 years. Graeme lives in Mauchline, Ayrshire. He has received great support from his parents, family, colleagues and friends in his venture to trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. Graeme is also a leader with Mauchline Scout Group hence his interest in this challenge. He enjoys swimming, football, skiing and golf and other sports.

Graeme is very happy to support the Ayrshire Hospice and knows the brilliant work associated through his employment. He would like to thank each and every one who supported him throughout the last year at his fundraising events which included a Race Night, Wine Tasting, Poker Night and Pub quizzes.

Graeme is also on the look out for a gorgeous chick to help carry his rucksack…..

Ronnie Steele

"I retired 2 years ago and having kept myself involved for many years in various fundraising events, including running New York, Boston and Paris Marathons for charities, I felt I should continue before I get too old (being the oldest trekker on this challenge)."

"Injuries prevented me continuing with the marathons (300 were enough) and now I enjoy walking and cycling and a bit of badminton. My family, 2 daughters are grown up and married and Ihave one lovely grand-daughter, Katie, 3yrs old."

"I work as a volunteer in the Day Hospice on Mondays and help to keep them awake, I hope with my friendly banter and quizzes etc. All the staff do a fantastic job and I am proud to be part of it and raising the money on this challenge has not been easy but its very worthwhile and I have beeen humbled at the generosity and support of some individuals in particular - my sincerest thanks to all of you (I won't embarrass them at this point)."

"Wishing us all a safe and successful trek!!"


  1. Good luck to all. I expect its very physically challenging but I imagine it will be mentally draining putting up with Ian's patter for 10 days!

    Apologies Ian, by the look of your photo you've put a lot of work in at the gym - well done.

    Hope you all have a safe trip.


  2. Mum and Dad you are doing a great thing. love you Elise xxxx

  3. Mum and Dad great luck on the climb DONT STOP!Hakuna Matata. Lots of love ~ Nathan xxxxxx

  4. All the best folks , do us proud .....
    Hope you have been training hard as ma brothers a fair lump to carry,

    Safe Travels John Strawhorn (jnr)

  5. Beers in Amsterdam at 8.30 am! Way to go....x

  6. Good Luck to you all. Safe Journey

  7. I trust Ronnie has been as entertaining as ever telling those jokes and stories of his. Never give up do you? Cheers Sandra+Brian

  8. good luck to all, keep your chins up and brown owl

  9. Day one and you all looked great at Amsterdam Airport. Glad to hear you have arrived safe and sound. Keep up the good work.
    Wishing you all a wonderful and safe treck.
    Gran Nathan & Elise

  10. Good Luck hope you do very well

    I know you will do very well and it is for a great cause

    Told all my friends so they are going to follow you and hamish

    lots love Halle xxxx

  11. big john, you'll have to put your foot down and tell kathleen that being the only woman in the group she'll have to run ahead so she can make the dinner for the rest of you guys. best of luck with that one.all the best to all of you.
    brad, sheryll & becks

  12. Stewart Lindsay20 March 2010 at 19:24

    Hi, one of your old chinas here....
    I am sending this from Algeria in the middle of the Sahara, know where I'd rather be. Best of luck one and all. Really proud of every one of you. Stewart L

  13. Another old China here wishing you guys all the very best for your climb. Feeling a bit envious and wish I was with you. Hope the sunrise on the 26th is a spectacular 'high point' for you!
    Have a great trip!
    Isobel McCleland

  14. Hope you are all doing well. Hope all of that training is making your life a bit easier Kathleen. Loved your Next directory pose in your photo Chris. A man at the top of his game. love it. see you all soon. Good luck, from Linda xx

  15. Hi to everyone - hope you are all well and wish you all good luck for the rest of the week - have fun! Lyn, Fundraising Office

  16. Well Stevie, hope your not holding everybody back and moaning like the big girl I know you are.(like the new hair) Seriously though, its a great thing what all you guys and girl are doing. The best of Irish luck and a safe journey to you all. Enjoy the craic and hopefully you will have some fun and great experiences together as a team.
    Regan and Karen oxox ;)

  17. Hi everyone, especially Ronnie Steele (my dad). Wish you all well and very good luck. Take it easy. Love Carol, Richard and Katie xx

  18. It was Kieta that David heard barking. It is very loud and carries a great distance. Love M and D.

  19. hi guys i have been following the trek hope you are all well and spirits are high nearly over now whata great job your doing and a fantastic experince i take my hat off to you all . all the best john i will speak 2 you next time you are on face book xxx karen webb dean