Brother of Glasgow soldier raises thousands for charity in memory of 'life and soul of the party'

The team have raised thousands for charity
-Credit: (Image: Samaritans)

The brother of a soldier who died by suicide has spoken of his pride after he and a determined team raised thousands of pounds for charity in his memory.

Sergeant Gordon Adam, serving with The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, passed away in 2019, aged 35. His determined brother Struan, along with four of Gordon’s friends from the regiment, took on the West Highland Way in just three days.

The team completed the challenge this week to mark what would have been Gordon’s 40th birthday.

So far, over £10,000 has been raised for Samaritans, as well as local charities Golden Friendships in Clydebank, and Thrive in Stewarton.

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Gordon Adam died aged 35
Gordon Adam died aged 35 -Credit:Samaritans

Struan and Gordon had completed the West Highland Way together back in 2005, and often said they would take on the ‘return journey’ and complete the route in the opposite direction.

Before his death, Gordon, from Glasgow, had also been planning to run a marathon to fundraise for Samaritans.

At the age of 35, he had already attended three funerals due to suicide. One was his own father who died when Gordon was just six, and most recently, another close Army colleague who had ended his life only a few weeks previously.

Brothers Struan and Gordon
Brothers Struan and Gordon -Credit:Samaritans

Struan, 41, said: “Gordon was always fun to be around and really was the life and soul of the party.

“As well as being a brilliant brother, husband, son, solider and boxer, Gordon’s first love was being a dad and he was a wonderful father to daughter Leah, stepson Reece and two young sons, Chase and Zane.

“He would have loved celebrating his 40th birthday and it should have been a happy time for us as a family. But with the fifth anniversary of his death being next month as well, it had the potential to be a really traumatic time for us.

“For Gordon’s birthday, I wanted to find a way to celebrate Gordon's life and create something positive out of this tragedy.

“The idea to walk the West Highland Way with some of Gordon’s friends really stemmed from that, and to have now raised such an incredible sum is a fantastic bonus.”

Struan walked the route from Fort William to Milngavie with Sergeant John McGoochan, Captain Frankie Kyle, Captain Topper Harley and Captain Scott Robinson.

The group set off on Sunday, June 2, and completed the challenge on Tuesday, June 4, on Gordon’s birthday. Poignantly, the first stop on their last day was Balmaha, where Gordon’s ashes were spread.

The lads at the West Highland Way finish
The lads at the West Highland Way finish -Credit:Samaritans

Struan said: “The challenge was probably the toughest thing I’ve experienced, physically.

“But it was a fantastic experience with the squaddies and we started each day with a huddle and two words – ‘For Gordy!’- and that camaraderie and support kept us going.

“As we approached the finishing line, we could see all of our families and friends, and Gordon’s sons waiting for us with a birthday cake, and that was really special.”

Struan documented their plans in the weeks leading up to the challenge on a ‘West Highland Way – The Return Journey’ Facebook page.

He explained: “I created a series of videos for the page and the Army lads really spoke from the heart and gave wonderful interviews about who Gordon was to them.

“You can hear the emotion in their voices, and we received a lot of positive feedback about how good it was to hear them talk so openly about their feelings.

“So I hope that, as well as raising money for Samaritans, Golden Friendships and Thrive, that our efforts encourage others to speak about how they’re feeling and reach out for help, and that that becomes part of Gordon’s legacy too.”

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Gordon and Struan’s mum, Sarah Frame, joined the group on the last stretch of the walk with Gordon’s sisters and nephews.

She said: “Knowing Gordon is still very much loved and missed by his Army colleagues means so much to me.

“The challenge was something that we could come together to support as a family and to join in as we were able, which drew us together at a difficult time.

“And so importantly, it gave us such a positive focus to fundraise for two charities which help people with their wellbeing, and for Samaritans, who are there to help save lives and prevent other families suffering this terrible grief.

“It gives me some comfort to know that over £10,000 has been donated and this will give better outcomes to so many.

“I am immensely proud of Struan for coming up with this fundraising challenge and for pushing himself beyond his limits to achieve it for Gordon's sake. And proud of all my family for coming together to support him throughout and do their bit too.”

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