Introducing our fantastic fundraising Firewalkers!

Meet the brave souls taking part in the Firewalk for Thistle this October.

Mhairi Sumner

Mhairi is a lecturer at Queen Margaret University and a barefoot rower. Ever since she was young, Mhairi preferred to be barefooted at any opportunity. Whilst other rowers don neoprene boots and dry socks to keep their toes warm and dry, Mhairi chooses to row in barefeet most of the year and on 10th October, she’ll be trading water for fire as she walks over the fiery coals for Thistle! 

Mhairi told us:  “I love a challenge and next month I will be putting my tootsies to the test by walking of fire for an amazing charity.  Thistle is local to me and I want to support the fantastic work they do by raising as much as I can.”

If you’d like to support Mhairi’s fiery fundraising, you can donate on her JustGiving page -


Brian and Kieran Brown

Brian has been supported through Thistle’s veterans support and has previously shared his story of support – you can read it here. Kieran, Brian’s son, is joining him for the Firewalk and shared why this is important to him:

"From a young age, it was always hard for me to understand the trials and tribulations that my dad had to go through as a result of his post traumatic stress disorder. In a way, it was like we were on the same journey of discovery to understand what it was and how it could be treated. However, he faced a tougher battle with him confronting more hurdles than any of us. It wasn’t until he found the Thistle Foundation that I began to learn about his condition and how to support him in anyway I could. The Thistle Foundation has done nothing but support my dad through his mental and physical battles. With their help, my dad began to understand what recovery truly was, supporting yourself so that you can support others.

Over the years, my dad’s involvement in the Thistle Foundation has only grown, with him striving for more involvement and becoming someone that others can turn to in their time of need. In the word’s of my dad “It has now become a matter of not, what can my charity do for me, but what can I do for my charity?”. It was in hearing this that I knew that I needed to help and support him in his journey of recovery and self-reflection once again. That is why I will be joining my dad in carrying a stretcher during a FireWalk to show support for the charities that have given my dad a chance to continue his journey of recovery and hopefully show those starting off their journeys, that all it takes is the first step. Luckily for them though, there won’t be burning coals in their way, just support."

Brian and Kieran are fundraising for both Thistle and Help for Heroes:


Jess Stephens

Our third firewalkers is Jess, who works in Thistle’s Fundraising Team and has shared why she’s chosen to take part in the Firewalk.

“I’m in the unusual position of someone who first came to Thistle as a person who needed support…and then never left. 

"From receiving help myself, then volunteering and finally being offered the opportunity to work in the Fundraising team, I’ve seen first-hand the effect that Thistle’s work can have and the difference it makes in people. 

"When a ten week Lifestyle Management Course runs, it can be hard to recognise the “graduates” as the same people who you met only a short time earlier.  Thistle’s person-centred, self-management based style of working equips people with the tools that they need to take control of their own life again, and is free of charge to anyone in Scotland.  The numbers of those who need us are rising, especially with the additional trauma of the past 18 months, and it’s only possible to offer this support due to our fundraising efforts.  I’m firewalking for Thistle because it’s a great opportunity to do something dramatic and raise awareness of Thistle’s life-changing work.”

You can support Jess on her JustGiving page -


Janette Harvey

Janette is Facilities Manager at Thistle. Out with work, Janette is a burlesque performer with the Sassy School of Burlesque and recently completed a sold-out run of 23 nights at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“I’m really excited for the Firewalk. Walking on fire has been on my list for a while, it’s something people think shouldn’t be possible and if someone tells me I can’t do something I like to say ‘watch me!   “We often hear from people we support who believed they couldn’t do certain things but, with the right support and environment, find that something once ‘impossible’ is suddenly possible. So the Firewalk feels like a really fitting event for me. It’s going to be a great night and brilliant way to raise much needed funds for Thistle’s work.”

This is Janette’s second fundraiser for Thistle this year, having taken part in the Virtual Kiltwalk in April along with her burlesque troop and, true to form, Janette has plans to add a little extra glitter to her Firewalk.

You can support Janette on her JustGiving page -



Sherron Gilroy

Our next fiery fundraiser is Sherron!

“I believe in supporting local charities and this year the Fire walking challenge for Thistle roused my interests, not only had I not heard of Thistle but I know nothing about Firewalking so was intrigued to find out more and signed up!

“Thistle support people living with long term conditions or facing challenging life situations to live well, whatever that means to them, I feel this is a well-deserved cause, especially as I think smaller charities have suffered the most over the last 18 months. Knowing nothing about Firewalking this also is a big challenge for me.”

If you’d like to support Sherron’s efforts, you can sponsor her on her JustGiving page


And three of our wonderful Personal Assistants are also taking part in support of Thistle! You can support Tarryn, Dangute and Lyn on their JustGiving pages below.


We’re so appreciative of our Firewalkers’ support!

If you would like to cheer our participants on, why not come along on the 10th October? Join us outside the Centre of Wellbeing to watch our participants walk on fire, enjoy the atmosphere and keep warm and cosy with some tasty refreshments.

As we’ll be outside, you may wish to bring a camping or folding chair with you.

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