AS an experienced pilot, David Sweeney is used to having his head in the clouds.

Now the 37-year-old Bridge of Weir man aims to reach new heights for charity by taking on a gruelling trek in the Himalayas.

David will head to Nepal next year to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Scotland.

And every step of the way, he’ll be thinking of his mum Christine, who bravely battled MND before her death in February at the age of 64.

David, who has worked as an airline pilot for over 15 years, was heartbroken to lose both of his parents a year apart, after his dad Phelim died from brain cancer in 2019.

The Gazette: David was devastated to lose both his mum Christine and dad Phelim just a year apartDavid was devastated to lose both his mum Christine and dad Phelim just a year apart

He is taking on the expedition in Nepal to give something back to the charity which has provided much-needed support to his family.

“We had continuous support from MND Scotland throughout but most especially in the time after dad passed away,” said David.

“It was always my intention to raise money for MND Scotland and offer just a fraction in return to what it has given to mum and our family. 

“I have been waiting for the right event, something that was achievable for me but also something that would require hard work, physical dedication and be a lifetime’s achievement. 

“I was so lucky to be able to tell my mum that I would be doing it and I know how proud she will be.”

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles.

This can cause sufferers to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.

The Gazette: Christine met Princess Anne at a reception hosted by MND ScotlandChristine met Princess Anne at a reception hosted by MND Scotland

David, who is married to Lynsey and dad to five-year-old Reid and three-year-old Elise, has previously taken on the Caledonian Challenge, which involved hiking for 54 miles across the West Highland Way within 24 hours.

That left him with blisters on his feet that were so bad he had to wear flip-flops for a week afterwards – but he expects his trek in the Himalayas to be an even tougher test.

“The Himalayan challenge involves teamwork, high altitude, long trekking days and everyone working towards the same goal, to raise as much money as possible,” he said.

Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising at MND Scotland, is full of praise for David.

He said “I’d like to thank David for taking on this once-in-a-lifetime challenge to help raise funds for MND Scotland. 

“It’s because of supporters like this that we can continue providing vital support to people affected by MND, as well as powering cutting-edge research towards a cure.”

To support David’s fundraising efforts, visit

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