A mum and daughter have raised over £1000 for Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire.

The organisation – which is based in East Kilbride – helps women and children fleeing abuse.

And Sarah Gallacher and 11-year-old daughter, Ava, from Hairmyres completed a 10k run over the festive period.

The challenge raised over £1000 for the charity

The family usually fill shoeboxes with items to donate to the charity and have handed in hundreds over a number of years.

But with the COVID pandemic Sarah, 34, decided to come up with another way to help.

She told the East Kilbride News: “The Shoebox Thing has been running successfully for several years but much like the rest of our lives it has to adapt to the madness of this year.

“The risk of collecting and handling the donations this year to myself and family, as well as the risk to Women’s Aid was I felt too great.

“So, in place of our usual donations we decided to do a festive sponsored 10k run.

“I first became involved in putting together the shoeboxes when Ava was in nursery and after she left I continued to do it, collecting a few. But it just mushroomed from there and folk asked if I was still doing it so I thought why not keep it going.

“We normally hand in about 100 filled shoeboxes every year so we made the fundraising target £100.

“But, unbelievably we have raised £1010 through a JustGiving page.

“We never thought we would raise so much and were overwhelmed by the response – especially given the year it’s been and people really struggling.

“I know how much this will mean to the charity as the people they support go to them with nothing.”

And Sarah was delighted Ava got on board – even encouraging her when the going got tough.

“Ava has always helped out and as she got older she now understands why the charity is there so I was delighted she wanted to do the 10k,” Sarah added.

“She does cross-country at school and will come out running with me anyway – although we certainly don’t do a 10k everyday.

“It was more difficult obviously with it being winter and the conditions turning treacherous but, to be honest, it was Ava that kept me going when I was thinking it was time to go home.”

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Interim CEO at WASLER, Heather Williams, said: “2020 was a difficult year for everyone with the public health restrictions in place to help control the spread of COVID-19 and the encouragement to stay at home.

“While for many home was a safe and comforting place during this time, for many of the individuals we work with this was not the case and COVID made already difficult situations even more difficult and increased the risk faced by women, children and young people while reducing the options they had for coping with the abuse they were experiencing.

“In the run up to the festive period the support we received across the communities of South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire was amazing including the efforts of Sarah and Ava Gallacher, this support enabled us to help nearly 200 families by providing vouchers, toys and food ensuring that they had a good Christmas.”