Two Sutherland-based businesses - GMG Energy and Melvich Bay Caravan Park – put financial muscle behind Olivia’s bid for surfing glory at Brazilian championships.
Portskerra’s Olivia Mackay, currently the girls under 18s Scottish National Champion surfer, and who is set to participate this month in the ISA World Junior surfing Championships in Rio de Janeiro, has benefited by significant financial support from two local businesses.
Directors of both Halladale-based GMG Energy and Melvich Bay Caravan Park have contributed to the travel costs that Olivia and eight other team mates will face before they can compete with the world’s top surfing talent.
Olivia, 16, who only started surfing in 2020, then won her Scottish title at Brim Ness earlier this year, said: “it is a privilege and an amazing opportunity to be competing at such a high level of competition for Scotland and I am super excited to surf in a different climate especially with my team mates.
“I am very grateful to Angus Forbes at Melvich Bay Caravan Park and Malcolm Morrison at GMG Energy for their kind donations and support for our team’s trip”.
Mr Forbes’s company only recently opened the doors of its well-provisioned hardstanding 24-pitch site for camper van, motorhomes, and other visitors on the hugely popular North Coast 500 (NC 500) route.
He said: “Olivia is a talented young athlete who has honed her surfing skills here in the north of Scotland and I believe we in the business community should always be prepared to back local talent and ambition.”
Malcolm Morrison, Director of GMG Energy said: “We have world-class surfing conditions locally in Thurso and this is an important regional asset which already attracts suffers from all over the world, so it’s important that our youngsters get the support they deserve from the local community.
“We wish Olivia and her team mates great sport and a life-changing opportunity to compete against the best in the world. I am certain she will not let us down.”
The Scottish Surfing Federation is sending a team of the best junior surfers in Scotland to compete at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The competition runs from 24 November to 3 December 2023.
The nine competitors from different regions of Scotland between the ages of 12 and 18 will have a support team to accompany them.
The crowd funder to make donations has successfully reached its target of £5,000 thanks to the support from friends, family and businesses including GMG Energy and Melvich Bay Caravan Park.
GMG Energy, the rapidly expanding Highland timber products specialist which contributes significantly to the circular economy in the Highlands and the Northern Isles, has recently invested £150,000 in state-of-the-art sawmill equipment which takes its larger timber and processes it into posts, rail, cladding and purlins, or structural roof members.
It has also recently spent in the region of £100,000 on timber treatment equipment which will open up new markets among construction companies and farm businesses which require treated and stress-tested products.
As a major plank of its business model, the company is committed to replacing every log of timber that it uses, and plants 10,000 new trees a year, which grow to maturity in 35 years. It far exceeded this target in 2021, planting in the region of 20,000 trees.
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