LOCAL MSP Kenneth Gibson recently took on a firewalk in aid of an Ayrshire charity - with his challenger and rival MSP Jamie Greene failing to take part.

Back in May in Holyrood, Conservative MSP for the West Scotland Region Mr Greene had challenged Kenny Gibson to participate in the walk for Team Beth from the charity Memories are Better than Dreams.

At the time Jamie Greene said: “I wish Team Beth the very best in its fundraising efforts, and I might be persuaded to walk over hot coals in the forthcoming fundraiser—I will do it if Kenneth Gibson does it.”

Kenneth Gibson responded: “I have already said that I will.”

Jamie Greene added: “Okay - that is agreed, then. However, I am sure that I will find an excuse between now and then not to do it.”

The Deputy Presiding Officer: of the Parliament said: “Neither you nor Mr Gibson can back out now, because we have many witnesses to your promising to do it and it will also be in the Official Report, so I look forward to seeing the video.”

After taking part, Kenneth Gibson said: “It is disappointing that Jamie Greene bottled his own challenge. However, the firewalk still managed to raise an amazing £22,000 for charity that night.

“Every year a number of children die in Ayrshire and Arran leaving their families devastated. Memories are Better than Dreams aims to help these families make special memories with their children towards the end of their life and following their death. Having a child with a long term illness places considerable stress and financial strain on families which can make it very difficult for them to provide the opportunities for memory making. Funds support, for example, memory making activities, headstones for the child, benches, special memory boxes or memorial jewellery. The help they give will be individual to each family and will be tailored to fulfil their wishes.

“Team Beth was set up by Roger and Eva, parents of little Beth Beattie from Ayr, who passed away last November aged 4 following a battle with neurofibromatosis. Over the past few years they have raised more than £43,000 for the charity and they continue without slowing down!”

Responding, Mr Greene said “I was gutted to miss the firewalk, especially as it was my challenge. When I said I like holding our local MSPs feet to the fire I didn’t mean it so literally.

“Unfortunately I was away on an official parliamentary visit with members of other devolved parliaments that weekend which I couldn’t get out of, but I spoke to Eva before the event wished her well for the fundraiser and sent a nice wee cheque in the post as an apology. I hope it was a fantastic evening and raised lots of money for this very important charity. I hope everyone’s feet have recovered and Kenny was able to hobble his way around Holyrood. I’ll need to come up with a creative way to raise funds for them myself now!”