Reunited after 40 years

190812 L-r eddie ottmann, colleen malarky and ollie mason, water aid and reunion story.
190812 L-r eddie ottmann, colleen malarky and ollie mason, water aid and reunion story.
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THREE relatives were reunited in Bo’ness for the first time in 40 years - as a charity challenge called The Water Run was unexpectedly interrupted...by too much water!

Ollie Mason had crossed the Forth Bridge last Wednesday on a John O’Groats to Lands End walk when he was halted by lashing rain and flash flooding.

Conditions north of the bridge had been poor and some roads on the south side were closed.

Project and support manager Eddie Ottmann said: “There was so much water on the road, when a vehicle like a lorry went past, the spray would have gone over his head.”

The Londoner added: “When Ollie came off the bridge, he was dripping wet. I knew we couldn’t continue.”

Eddie (55) hadn’t seen his aunt, Colleen Malarky in Bo’ness, now in her 80s, since he was a boy and thought there was no chance of finding her without an address or phone number.

But a unscheduled detour to the town’s library paid off when assistant, Anne Simms, heard the men mention the aunt’s surname and immediately asked if they meant Colleen, a long-standing customer.

A quick call by Anne to Colleen at Grange Terrace saw Eddie and Ollie in warm hospitality.

“She invited us for coffee, which turned into dinner and overnight!” said Eddie, who had the unexpected bonus of also meeting his cousin Elaine - coincidentally visiting from England - for the first time in decades.

Colleen said: “It was a very pleasant surprise. I hadn’t seen him for years. We do exchange Christmas cards with a few lines but that’s about it.”

Anne was happy to have been able to help out Eddie and Ollie. She said: “I was interested to hear about the event. I admire him for doing something like that.

“I’ll be following their path on the website.”

Graphic designer and programmer Ollie (23) has been training for his challenge - launched at a Downing Street charity reception - for two years.

“4500 children die every day from polluted water, one every 20 seconds, it’s that shocking,” said Eddie.

“It only costs £10 to provide clean safe water for the child for the rest of its life.”

*Donate online at www.thewaterrun.com