by Dawn Rennie
EMMERDALE cast members are to return to Banchory on an annual basis thanks to the generosity of Deeside folk.
Cast members took part in a variety of activities in the town last Saturday – including a golf tournament, 10km run and wing walk – boosting the Anthony Nolan Trust's funds by over 100,000. And they were so delighted with the response from locals that they are to return next year.
Anthony Nolan Trust area manager George Walker confirmed the event, which culminated in a dinner dance at the Hilton Treetops in Aberdeen, has topped the 100,000 mark. He wants to thank Deeside folk for their support.
Emmerdale stars enjoyed a golf tournament at Inchmarlo Golf Centre – the base for many of the day's activities – a tennis competition, 10km fun run and walkathon and a wing walk as well as appearing in many local retail outlets. They had arrived in Banchory via a 60 strong vintage vehicle and Harley Davidson motorcycle parade.
Mr Walker said: “The streets were packed with people all day. It was a great weekend, the weather was brilliant and everything went like clockwork.
“The good news is the Emmerdale cast are coming back and coming back to Banchory. They want the event to stay in Banchory because they got such a warm reception. They thoroughly enjoyed the golf at Inchmarlo, in fact Patrick Mower who plays Rodney Blackstock, said it was the best course he had played on. And that's great because if they have a good time they will keep coming back.
“Karl Davies, who plays Robert Sugden, lost half his trousers when he did the wing walk! They were so baggy the wind got up underneath them, he was apparently terrified he would lose them! At the dinner dance in the evening a woman pledged 2,500 for Chris Chittell (Eric Pollard) to do the wing walk next year. The aerobatics display team had donated a wing walk as a prize.
“The cast members worked so hard, Chris for example started off Saturday with a coffee morning at The Millers and started off a parade, then he was in the parade in Banchory, did the 10km run, then joined Lorraine Chase (Stephanie Stokes) for the tennis finals before helping out with our auction at the dinner dance and going nightclubbing. On the Sunday morning he started the commercial vintage vehicle run at the Millers and spent the day at Portlethen where a fun day had been organised on our behalf. When we took him to the airport on Monday he was shattered!”
Mr Walker added that he too was “shattered” after co-ordinating the event, but that it was totally worthwhile. “There is a bit of an anti-climax now that everyone has gone home, but if we can get all the money in, then we are over 100,000 and that will make such a difference to the amount of transplants we can carry out,” he added. “And that's what we're all about.
“I must thank the people of Banchory and everyone who helped, especially Inchmarlo Golf Centre which couldn't have done more for us. They have been so supportive and so helpful.”
Mr Walker added that the three Emmerdale events so far have raised more than 200,000, but that spin-off donations due to the publicity the soap stars bring, amount to much more.