A GROUP of Tartan army members are walking from Hampden to Irvine on Saturday to raise money for their friend who died of skin cancer in 2014.

Mark Torrance, from Irvine, was 48 when he died and was a big Scotland fan, having attended games home and away from the 1990s onwards.

Now, his friends Andy Manson and Ian Gillan are hoping to raise £10,000 for the Ayrshire Hospice, who looked after Torrance towards the end of his life.

Manson told The National: “There’s a group of us been going to games forever. Mark was unlucky enough to catch skin cancer and he died in 2014.

READ MORE: Alister Jack says civil staff must not work for Independence Minister

“It took a few years to get ourselves organised but ultimately we’re walking in memory of him.

“We thought going from Hampden to Irvine would be a good thing to do.”

There were originally 17 planning to do the walk although unfortunately one of them has since “put his back out” doing yoga warming up for it.  

The group will leave Hampden around 5am and, once they reach Irvine, the plan is to walk the final mile with Torrance’s widow Alison Hunter and their children in time for the game between Irvine Meadow and Auchinleck Talbot.

Manson explains that Torrance’s local team have been brilliant in supporting them and will allow them to be piped onto the pitch and raise money for the game.

“There will be lots of kilts and a piper so we’re hoping to make a bit of an impact along the way”, Manson added.

Footballing memory

The SFA allowed Manson to write a piece in the programme for Scotland’s recent match against Cyprus where he explained that Torrance enjoyed the “glory years” of the 1990s when Scotland regularly qualified for major tournaments.

He cites one World Cup in particular as a special memory.

“I think France 98 was the peak. I’d go to the games with guys from Glasgow and meet up with the Aberdeen crowd, which is where Mark went to university.

“But I think that World Cup was where a lot of us formed these lifelong relationships and got to know each other quite well across these highs and lows – the penalty against Brazil, own goals.

The National: France 98 remains a fond memory for Scotland fans despite the early exitFrance 98 remains a fond memory for Scotland fans despite the early exit

“It’s one of those things. At the time we thought the agony of going out in the first round was the worst thing ever but it turns out the years of not qualifying is actually worse.”

Donation goal

Manson admits that he and Gillan had slightly different targets when it came to initially setting up the fundraiser.

“Ian is quite a cautious guy, he set the goal at £1000, I said £5000 and we’re all thinking £10,000 now. I think that’s the goal.

“Between money we’ve got from Just Giving and Irvine Meadow, who have pledged some money towards it, we’re up about £6500.”

READ MORE: Eta Aquariid meteor shower: When to see it in Scotland

Those walking are hoping to generate as much publicity as possible to maximise what they raise for the charity.  

The link to Mark Torrance’s Just Giving page can be found HERE.