Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Lynne McNicoll

Lynne McNicoll is the founder of local charity ‘It’s Good 2 Give!’ which provides support to young cancer sufferers and their families. The charity has gone from strength from strength since launching in 2010, already raising over £800,000 with great support from the local community. This year is going to be a very exciting one for It’s Good 2 Give! as they begin the build of the Ripple Retreat, a special haven for young people with cancer and their families.

At the beginning of 2015 Lynne announced that she is has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Ever upbeat, Lynne is determined to continue to give as much as she can to It’s Good 2 Give! whilst undergoing her treatment.

We are very grateful to Lynne for taking some time out to talk to us about ‘It’s Good 2 Give!’ and what she loves about her home city of Edinburgh.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am 58, married to Ian, lived in Edinburgh all my life – I went to Flora Stevenson’s Primary School at Comely Bank and then to James Gillespie’s High School at Marchmont.  I love admin and event organising which is just as well!  And I definitely love talking. I have two stepchildren Susan and Andrew.  My stepdaughter Susan is married to Peter and they have two sons, my grandsons Sam and Jack – Ian and I love them all beyond measure.  My stepson Andrew died in a road traffic incident, cycling to work, 3 years ago and is a very much missed part of our family.  

What inspired you to set up ‘It’s Good 2 Give!’?

I set up It’s Good 2 Give! with my husband Ian 5 years ago – we got charity registration in April 2010.  I wanted to set up our own charity after fundraising for 4 years for another cancer charity and seeing the effects on the whole family when a child or teenager has cancer.  I wanted to support the whole family in practical ways so we provide snacks on the ward to parents and patients, provide parent packs to parents staying in hospital, ironing vouchers to help with that chore, and organise practical yet fun workshops for the whole family. 

What have been your biggest achievements with ‘It’s Good 2 Give!’ so far? 

There are so many – it has been such an incredible five years – the support shown by the community is immense and that in itself is a great achievement.  I think that our Kilimanjaro Trek is one of our biggest achievements - the 31 trekkers raised over £120,000!  This year, in fact in just a few weeks’ time, our Arctic trekkers set off to do a tough 3 day challenge in Finland – pulling their own kit on pulks over 20miles each day for 3 days.  They have already raised over £40,000 for us.    

My personal favourite achievement is ‘our’ Lothian Bus.  We were charity of the year at Lothian Buses and they continue to support us with our own bus – I have my own bus-spotters club on Twitter and they let me know if they have seen it and what route it is on. It gives me great pride to see our young Ambassadors photo on the bus. 

What does the future hold for the charity?

This year we have three goals; to continue our day to day practical support, to move forward with our volunteering opportunity for young people – the Young Ambassadors Club -  and to build our Ripple Retreat. 

The Retreat will be built on the shores of Loch Venachar in the Trossachs National Park – on land gifted to us with a design by Tony Kettle who, along with his design team, is working pro bono.  It is a very exciting year for us. We have also been chosen as one of the charity partners of the Edinburgh Kiltwalk in May this year so are looking forward to seeing a small army of walkers out walking for It’s Good 2 Give!. 

When you hear the words ‘This Is Edinburgh’, the first thing that springs to mind is? 

Pride.

What makes you particularly proud to come from/live/work in the city?

The architecture – there is so much to look at and admire – my favourite place is the Castle and a close second is the National Portrait Gallery.  We have so much green space in the city too. I find the people incredibly generous from our supporters who come to events, organise events for us, donate prizes for our events and the companies who take us on as Charity of the Year (some of them for many years!) - their kindness and generosity is amazing and very much appreciated. I’m also very proud of our amazing public transport system.

‘It’s Good 2 Give!’ hosts lots of great events throughout the year, which other events do you look forward to in Edinburgh? 

So many to choose from! My favourite is the Book Festival, I just love it, the events and the atmosphere – it is hard to believe you are in a relatively small square in the city. I adore the Edinburgh Military Tattoo – I could burst with pride when you see the pipe bands coming out from the Castle especially if they are playing ‘Highland Cathedral’!  Another favourite is the new Edinburgh Festival of Cycling – one of these years when I have more time I will be able to organise an event in it.

Describe your perfect day in Edinburgh?

Well, it would start with a 30min swim, followed by breakfast in my favourite place ever, Contini Ristorante in George Street; home on ‘my’ Lothian Bus to work on all our upcoming plans and events from my home office; have a successful day begging prizes for events; enjoy dinner cooked by my lovely husband (if it’s a perfect day then it would have to be his home made fish and chips with fish from our local fishmonger Hughes at Bruntsfield and some french bread from La Barantine at Bruntsfield); spend the evening updating Facebook and Twitter.  Yep, that would be a perfect day! 

Edinburgh looks especially beautiful when…

Ah. For me, my all-time favourite is seeing the crocuses blooming in Charlotte Square – from the time I was a teenager going to school on the 41 bus, I fell in love with that sight and share that love with my Dad.  From mid-February on I seek out the Square to watch for them coming up.  It is such a welcome start to spring. 

Which one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems that you would recommend to a new visitor?

It’s not really hidden but I am not sure enough people go to see it so I always recommend the Portrait Gallery on Queen Street – it has some cracking exhibitions but the main attraction for me is the main hall, the balcony frieze and the ceiling are stunning. It is such a peaceful place to go and the café is pretty good too. 

If you are interested in finding out more about ‘It’s Good 2 Give’ and how you can get involved visit the charity’s website