David’s magnetic hobby raises money for charity for veterans

A kind-hearted Perth man who has spent the past 18 months cleaning up the city’s rivers is now using his passion to raise money to support injured veterans.

David Leslie founded the Magnet Fishing Devils Facebook group to clean litter from Perth’s waterways.

He regularly goes magnet fishing, that is, he removes iron objects from the water using a powerful neodymium magnet.

His unusual catches include shotgun shells, needles, knives, bollards, bicycles and scooters and, as seen here, numerous shopping carts.

Magnetic fishermen share their findings on a YouTube channel.

While on leave from his job at a city pub during the lockdown, David (33) was out in all weathers cleaning up the Perth Lade and the River Tay.

David, who was raised in a foster family in Glasgow, joined the army on his 16th birthday but left after basic training due to health issues.

He received help from Help for Heroes while living in Glasgow and now uses his hobby to raise money for the forces charity.

David runs raffles and has already raised over £100 for the cause.

He plans to raise additional funds by selling any valuables collected on his many aquatic expeditions, and in addition he also volunteers at the Tesco supermarket in Perth during the national Help for Heroes fundraising weekend, which takes place later this month, on June 26 and 27.

David works with community groups, charities and the council in his attempt to clean up the water and links up with local veterans groups and recovery services in an effort to get more people involved in Magnet Fishing Devils.

The group turns over any weapons they find to the police, along with any valuables, which are returned after six weeks if unclaimed.

A local artist recycles some of the found objects and sells her creations in her shop, donating the commission to Help for Heroes.

“I want to do my part to help guys who really need help, raise awareness about non-judgmental mental health and help distract them from their problems,” David explained.

“I suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, and magnet fishing has helped me out, especially during lockdown.

“But now it’s become something where I want to help clean up the water and make it more enjoyable for local people and wildlife.”

Commenting on David’s efforts, Trevor Fudger, Regional Fundraising Manager at Help for Heroes, said: “We are so grateful to David for choosing to support us, especially since, like all charities , our fundraising revenue has been impacted and we need to raise critical funds to ensure that we can continue to support our injured and sick veterans.

Help for Heroes is reintroducing a range of face-to-face recovery activities and events across Scotland, in line with local guidelines, alongside the virtual and remote support it has offered veterans and their loved ones throughout throughout the pandemic.

These currently include group rides, mountain biking, virtual meetups and other online activities, ranging from quizzes and scavenger hunts to crafts and cooking, with more being added as the lock releases further.

Anyone wishing to join David in volunteering for the Help for Heroes National Fundraising Weekend on June 26-27 can do so by visiting: https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/give-support/volunteer /events/tesco-national-week-end-collection/

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