Raigmore Hospital service gift of £ 10,000 from North Man’s book sale helps pay off massive debt of gratitude to staff


Donald MacDonald has decided to raise funds for Raigmore Hospital Room 5a through the sale of his book, Life’s Too Short for Ironing Shirts. Photo: Alan Hendry

A Highland hospital ward where patients receive cancer treatment received a gift of £ 10,000 thanks to the storytelling skills of a man from the North.

Donald MacDonald raised funds for Ward 5a of Raigmore through the sale of his book Life’s Too Short for Ironing Shirts and donations from supporters.

Donald (56), from Forss, near Thurso, spent months in the ward after being diagnosed with leukemia last year. In recognition of the care and kindness he received there, Donald decided to fundraise for items to benefit other patients.

The book is an entertaining collection of tales based on many of his experiences and encounters over the years.

Money was handed over in August and Donald has now brought the total to £ 10,000.

“I thought it was a nice gesture to give them this money right before Christmas,” he said.

Life’s Too Short for Ironing Shirts launched in Thurso in June. The initial print of 1,000 copies sold out quickly, so Donald organized an additional 500 copies with all proceeds going to Ward 5a once printing costs were covered.

“A lot of people gave me a five and a ten more, and one person bought a book and gave me £ 100,” he said.

Donald is a farmer well known in Caithness and beyond for his work in landscape gardening.

He fell ill while traveling to South America in January 2020 with his friend Ian Leith. They had explored the links between Caithness and Patagonia and met some of the descendants of emigrant families.

Donald MacDonald (center) with Chris Nicolson and Ian Leith outside the Manor House Hotel in Thurso where Life's Too Short for Ironing Shirts launched in June.  Photo: Alan Hendry
Donald MacDonald (center) with Chris Nicolson and Ian Leith outside the Manor House Hotel in Thurso where Life’s Too Short for Ironing Shirts launched in June. Photo: Alan Hendry

Donald had an initial 86 day stay in Ward 5a before returning for an additional 30 days.

He said: “I would like to thank the people who sold the book on my behalf and those who bought it. The book went everywhere – Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, Switzerland, Germany.

“Everyone’s asking me to do a second book. If I’m spared and I’m fine I’ll put together a few stories and maybe 10 years from now I’ll do another one.”

Iona McGauran, Head Nurse at Raigmore Hospital, said: “It is always a satisfaction for our staff to hear that the care they have provided is appreciated. It’s an incredible gesture and I know that this donation, which is an incredible amount, will be very much appreciated by the service team.

“I would like to warmly thank Mr. MacDonald for this donation – it is really, really kind of him.”

Life’s Too Short for Ironing Shirts was transcribed by Ian Leith and edited and composed by Chris Nicolson under the brand Teeniemaleek Publications. It was printed by Caithness Print Solutions.

Copies (priced at £ 10) are available from Elizabeth’s Fabrics in Thurso or by emailing Donald at [email protected]

The cover design of Donald MacDonald's book.
The cover design of Donald MacDonald’s book.


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