AN ARDROSSAN 101-year-old has been hailed an ‘inspiration’ after he walked the last mile of a marathon with his granddaughter and her friends as part of the Virtual Kiltwalk on Saturday to raise vital funds for charity.

Ugo Pellegrini, 101, joined his granddaughter Melissa Ramage and her friends Vicky, Annie and Claire as they walked more than 26 miles from Ardrossan to Largs and back to raise money for the Ayrshire Hospice.

The group were inspired to take on the Kiltwalk challenge to repay the vital support the charity gave to Vicky’s father and Annie’s mother who both sadly passed away recently.

At time of writing the group had raised more than £4,500.

Special guest Ugo chose to walk one mile to mark his one year over a hundred age and also one year since the beginning of the COVID crisis in the UK with videos of him completing the challenge going viral.

His 100th birthday was the day of the first national lockdown meaning his family had to cancel their big birthday bash they had planned.

His granddaughter Melissa told the Herald: “I spoke to my Nonno (grandfather) before the event and joked with him why don’t you join us and he laughed and he said he could do the walk no bother. It got me thinking what a great thing for the community to see a man that has been isolating and hidden away due to COVID being able to get out in the community again and feel he could do something for charity.

“I didn’t promote it before the event as I didn’t want to put any pressure on him to do it, but he was sitting about all day waiting on us. I kept getting phone calls from my sister and my dad saying where are you? Nonno is desperate to come. He fuelled himself with a fish supper from Café Palazzo so he was full of energy for his big walk.

“He is very independent and is fantastic for his age. I knew it would not be too much for him to do the mile. The hospice loved it and they got their mascot Agent H to visit too. Friends and family were cheering us along the way, and we are all so proud of him.

“He was so happy after he completed it. My dad took him home and told me my Nonno was delighted and so pleased with himself that he managed it.

“He laughed with me he could have done more so I joked that’s him in training for more miles next year at 102. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, but he will hate the thought he gets fame out of this.

"He is a legend not only in our eyes but in the community too."

Asked what kept Ugo going during lockdown Melissa said: “We are a big family and that keeps him going and we have made use of the technology available. He has five sons, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and he cannot wait to see us all and loves to follow our progress.

“My Nonno loves cooking, and he would have us round for dinner each week for his homemade pasta and his bolognese sauce is famous in the family so we are looking forward to that when we are allowed.”

Tracey Corrigan, head of fundraising at the Ayrshire Hospice added: “It is absolutely fantastic that Mr Pellegrini took part in the Kiltwalk with his granddaughter. Our mascot Agent H was delighted to join him along his mile to offer encouragement. He is an amazing gentleman and an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your wonderful support.”

Melissa, Vicky, Annie and Claire with the help of Kiltwalk legend Ugo smashed their initial fundraising target of £1,000.

The £4,751 raised for the hospice will be increased by 50 per cent thanks to the generosity of Sir Tom Hunter.

Melissa said: “We started with the aim of £1,000 but we have been overwhelmed with the amount we raised for such an important cause.

“Our legs were a bit stiff and feet a bit sore but it was all worth it for a good cause.”

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