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If you’ve been following our fundraising news recently, you’ll know some of our supporters just completed a cross-Scotland running challenge in aid of Dr Graham’s Homes. The DGHUK Hope Run 2024 was an “ultra-relay” across 220 miles of Scottish countryside, from Cardross on the west coast to Stockbridge in the east. And we’re pleased to say the event was a huge success. All 23 runners completed the race, without injury. And they raised over £7,000 for our sponsored children. We asked the young people – who all come from Beech Grove School in Kent – to tell us about it.

How did you hear about the Hope Run?

In November 2023, [DGHUK supporter] Michael Scott came to the Beech Grove Senior School to pitch an idea to the 42 high school students. Michael, a Christian who uses running to make a difference in the world, inspired Beech Grove students with stories of other runs he has organized, raising funds for Operation Orphan in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak. At the close of the assembly, over half of the students clustered to the front to volunteer.

Why did you want to sign up?

We were excited at the prospect of running through the stunning landscape of Scotland, but we wanted to know more: Who are the children of Dr Graham’s Homes, and how will a run across Scotland help them? To answer our questions, Michael arranged for DGHUK staff members Ian and Anji Russell to speak at our school. We heard an inspiring story about a man, John Anderson Graham, who followed his dreams to establish a whole “children’s village” to provide a home and education for underprivileged children. Ian and Anji told us about the Homes today as they continue the vision and legacy of Dr Graham. This story increased our inspiration to run.

How did you prepare?

We filled the following months with training for the run and fundraising. We organised a bake sale in the nearby village, several Beech Grove Senior School boarding houses spent many hours landscaping in the locality, and others worked at pubs and did other jobs – all to raise funds for the Homes. Two of the runners are aspiring musicians and put on a string concert, which resulted in many donations. Between all the fundraising efforts, training was well under way. Students participated in early morning group runs and hard-core personal training, with some students running up to 30 kilometres in a day.

Where did you start the relay?

The day before the Hope Run, all the runners and staff drove up to the starting line in Cardross, a small Scottish town on the north bank of the River Clyde. Cardross had been the boyhood hometown of John Anderson Graham, back in the late 1800s. The Cardross Parish church kindly provided food, lodging, and donations. At the church service in the evening, runners and organisers told their stories about the inspiration for the run.



We woke early Friday morning with excitement running high. After a nourishing breakfast provided by the church, we cleaned up our sleeping bags and gathered our wits and belongings in preparation for the next two days and nights of continuous running. We were off! Running across Scotland proved difficult, but after the months of intense training we were prepared to battle the physical and mental fatigue, drizzling rain, and chilly temperatures. We soon fell into the rhythm of running, eating, and resting day into night and back into day again! Despite the exhaustion, we enjoyed the awe-inspiring mountainous Scottish countryside (we call them mountains even though they are molehills compared to Kanchenjunga). To run alongside the renowned Loch Lomond and up into mountains to the aptly named ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ lookout is incomparable! An unexpected member of the run – the only one to complete every foot of the run – was our treasured baton: a cherry stick, just the perfect size, picked up from the yard of the church as we set off. It was carefully and deliberately passed from one runner to the next all the way from Cardross to Edinburgh. It will have a treasured place in our school’s trophy cabinet!

Along the way our good friend Sam Thompson kept us well fed and rested in his camper, which he made available to the runners along the route. In the evening of our first day of running we passed The Wee Butcher’s Shop and purchased some haggis which Sam fried up for us in his camper for a delicious evening feast.

After crossing the River Clyde on the ferry, we again headed up into the hills above Gourock and into our first night of running. To everyone’s amazement, we were well ahead of schedule and arrived at Troon in Ayrshire three hours early!


At 9:30 am Saturday morning, with a gusty gale coming in off the Firth of Clyde, we all participated in the Troon Parkrun, adding another 5K onto our mileage before pushing on through sun and downpours to Glasgow and the Forth and Clyde Canal towpath which led us to the amazing Falkirk Wheel.

Now 36 hours into our adventure and with our second night coming on, we set off on the last leg into Edinburgh, first along the Union Canal, before adding another detour of 12 miles out to the historic Forth Bridge. At 3:07 am, again hours ahead of schedule, we reached our goal, central Edinburgh, with only the very last short run to the Stockbridge Parish Church still ahead of us.


Sunday dawned crystal clear and sunny, so we took advantage of it to visit the historic Edinburgh Castle before running to our final destination in the heart of Edinburgh: Stockbridge Parish Church. Members of the church welcomed us with incredible hospitality, after cheering us on as we crossed the finish line!

After nearly 48 hours of relay runs, covering 235 miles (we added 15 miles since we were ahead of schedule) were welcomed and fed by Stockbridge Parish Church, Dr Graham’s own kirk when he was a student and trainee minister. We were invited to their Sunday service where we told the congregation about our Hope Run and our inspiration – Dr Graham’s Homes, Kalimpong!

The Hope Run brought us together as a team with a goal: to give to others. We will never forget the experience and fun of the Hope Run or the inspiring story and legacy of Dr Graham and his Homes in Kalimpong.

Would you like to add to the students’ fundraising total? There’s still time to make a donation. Click here for our Donate page. The young people – and all of us here at DGHUK – will be very grateful!