Kirriemuir hairdresser Paul Soutar had an appointment with royalty this month when he attended the garden party at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.
Paul was invited to the event in recognition of his fund-raising efforts for charities close to his heart.
These have included five Kirriemuir Relays for Life for Cancer Research UK with his staff members, and most recently his walk to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. He scaled Africa’s highest peak in Tanzania in February, raising £5400 which was split between Motor Neurone Disease, Juvenile Diabetic Research and Down’s Syndrome Scotland.
He funded the trip himself after writing his ‘bucket list’ of things he wants to do in his lifetime.
He said: “I started the list after my old school friend Sarah Gilmour sadly passed away from MND and I thought ‘life is far too short’.
“I chose MND in memory of Sarah; Juvenile Diabetic Research in memory of Claire Taylor, whose family are loyal customers – Claire sadly passed away a few years ago aged 17; and Down’s Syndrome Scotland as I am inspired by Lewis Duncan, the son of one of my stylists Dawn Stephen and her partner, Craig Duncan.”
Now he is planning to walk part of the Great Wall of China next May, raising funds for SUDEP – Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy; Action for ME; and Kirriemuir Relay for Life.
He continued: “I chose SUDEP in tribute to the wife of one of the guys I met on the trek to Mount Kiliminjaro, who sadly passed away last August.
“I was diagnosed with ME 20 years ago and struggled to get a diagnosis.
“Hopefully this will raise the profile and awareness of it.
“I will also raise funds to kick start our fund-raising for the Kirriemuir Relay for Life.”
Paul was accompanied to the palace on Tuesday, July 5, by his parents, David and Christine.
He added: “I was pleasantly surprised to be invited.
“ It was a great day with the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Edward attending, and about 8000 people.
“It was an honour to be invited and I say a big thank you to everybody – customers, staff, friends and family – who have supported me.”