Ferry operator CalMac is helping one Barrhead family improve understanding of a devastating degenerative brain disorder across the Western Isles.

Competition winners Jim Bavin and his wife Susanne have won a fourteen day Island Rover ticket donated by the company to the Paisley Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA), the only charity in the country supporting families living with Huntington’s disease (HD).

The Island Rover ticket gives the Bavin’s unlimited travel across the CalMac network during their trip.

“I’m really looking forward to experiencing CalMac’s award winning service to take in some of the most spectacular scenery in the country.”

“We haven’t yet decided what route we’ll be taking, but that’s the beauty of the Rover ticket you have the flexibility to decide where you are going based on how you feel or just follow the weather,” said Jim.

“Wherever we land up we will be sure to spread the word to increase understand of HD.”

HD is a hereditary progressive condition that causes changes to muscle control, thinking processes and can cause long-term mental health issues. The average age of onset is between 33 and 45 and those living with the condition will require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages. Each child of someone diagnosed with HD is at 50% risk of developing the condition themselves. There is no cure.

It is estimated that there are around 1100 people living with the condition in the country with another 5000 potentially at risk.

Jim has promised to post social media updates of his trip and of his HD awareness raising activity wherever he goes.

“I’d like to thank CalMac for their kindness in donating this prize and look forward to building a long relationship with them. HD is no observer of geography, we support clients along the west coast and rely like everyone else on the lifeline services they provide,” said SHA’s chief executive, John Eden.

CalMac has been serving communities up and and down the western Isles across 49 routes for the past 160 years and is the UK’s largest ferry company. Company marketing manager Peter Griffiths said:

“We are an integral part of the communities we serve and are committed to helping them thrive. I’m looking forward to reading about and sharing Jim’s experiences of some of the 27 destinations we sail to we are delighted to be able to help highlight this devastating disease and the impact it has on families affected.”