Beach scheme set to launch first wheelchairs

St Andrews West Sands
St Andrews West Sands

The project aimed at making St Andrews’ iconic beaches more accessible comes to fruition this weekend.

The launch of the first beach wheelchairs takes place on West Sands on Sunday, at the annual Chariots of Fire Beach Race.

Tourism St Andrews and the Hamish Foundation, having secured donations and support, have purchased the first four beach wheelchairs for the town, which will allow those with mobility challenges, access to the famous sands.

The wheelchairs, as well as being able to go across the beaches, are also suitable for crossing golf course terrain.

Debbie MacCallum, a trustee of The Hamish Foundation and chair of Tourism St Andrews, said: “The fundraising support and donations from individuals, organisations, local and national businesses has been overwhelming and we would like to thank everyone for their efforts in making this initiative come to fruition.

“Many families cannot offer their family members an inclusive day out in St Andrews due to mobility challenges.

“Enjoying our beaches is something that so many of us take for granted.

“Everyone has been passionate in their efforts to help with fundraising.

“International students at St Andrews University ran a number of imaginative fundraising projects to support us as did local business owners.

“Kingdom FM and St Andrews Links Trust have given us wonderful support too.

“The community has really pulled together to make this happen in time for the summer season ahead.”

The launch of the beach wheelchairs will take place at 11am on West Sands.

Kitty Walker, a local resident with MS, has also been asked by the organisers of the beach race to fire the start gun.

Local residents and visitors to the town will be able to book the Beach Wheelchairs in advance of their planned visit by calling a centralised telephone number or by using an online booking system via the Hamish McHamish Foundation website.