Tayside and Angus racers with a sweet tooth are bound to have come across the remarkable Fiona Edwards.
A runner herself, the Dundee-based Edwards started to sell homemade tablet at races and football matches in Tayside to raise money for charity, specifically breast cancer research, in 2003.
Over the past 17 years, Edwards has cooked her way though 9500kg of sugar, 3772kg of condensed milk, 4750 litres of milk and 4750 teaspoons of vanilla essence to raise £85,000 to help support researchers at the University of Dundee.
As a result of her efforts, in 2019 Edwards was named the inaugural Citizen of the Year by Monifieth and District Rotary Club.
True to her charitable nature, Edwards chose to put her £100 prize towards the year’s final tally: £9500, which she handed over to the Clinical Research Centre at Ninewells Hospital earlier this month.
The money Edwards donates supports pioneering breast cancer research at the University’s School of Medicine. The latest tranche of funding will be used to support the development of a prognostic index for breast cancer, which can be used to help decide which patients should be given chemotherapy prior to surgery.
Edwards estimates that she has baked almost 10,000 trays of tablet since she began her fundraising efforts, meaning that somewhere around 175,000 individual squares – more than one each for every man, woman and child in the city of Dundee – have been sold in that time.
She said: “I have pretty much always got a batch of tablet on the go and I need to keep a stock of ingredients in my house at all times – I’ve got something like 50 cans of condensed milk in my cupboard at the moment.”
Fiona’s canniness in the kitchen also helps a second worthy cause: her treats are also sold at the Balhungie Farm Shop. As part of the farm shop’s profits go to helping children in Africa, money raised through Edwards’ tablet alone has provided 28,000 malnourished children with a meal via the charity ABC Africa.
But with making two batches of tablet every morning, does she still have time to run?
Edwards told runABC Scotland online: “Unfortunately I’ve been plagued with injury since 2018. This year, though, I really want to do a half marathon – weird saying that when normally I do three a year – as I will be turning 60.
“It’s interesting that you never really get the same buzz from other sports as you do with running.”
Whether she herself is running this year or not, Edwards will still be at all the main Tayside races, selling her tablet.
Runners at the Angus Half and the Smokies 10 should certainly keep an eye out for her in the event car parks – and bring a sweet tooth and plenty of spare change!