A Royal Navy marine engineer has pledged to “defy the odds” and pedal his way across the Atlantic Ocean in memory of his late pal.
Ross Hastings, from Grangemouth, is currently serving on HMS Richmond, deployed in the United States. And he has set himself the task of cycling 6965km (4393 miles) – roughly the distance between Miami and Portsmouth – as a way of remembering his friend Robert Marshall from Avonbridge who died of cancer earlier this month.
The friends had dreams of being shipmates together and Robert, who was 21, was accepted for the service. But shortly afterwards, in 2010, he was diagnosed with cancer.
He went on to fight his illness bravely and with a smile and was one of the people chosen to carry the Olympic torch when it passed through the Falkirk area in 2012.
He passed away in Strathcarron Hospice on Sunday, January 5.
Ross (20), a former pupil of Grangemouth High School who has been in the Navy for two years, said: “A few shipmates and I are going to cycle the distance over the Atlantic Ocean and do it before the ship makes it home.
“I’m doing this to raise as much as possible for the Teenage Cancer Trust because even when Robert was ill he never once complained, he was always upbeat and refused to let it affect him.
“Some people are saying what I am trying to achieve is impossible but I disagree. It will just be difficult. I’ll make sure we manage it, defy the odds and hopefully one day someone will defy the odds and find a cure for cancer.”
The seven Royal Navy boys have set themselves the target of completing the gruelling task in just 30 days on a cycling machine on the ship.
Robert’s mum Carole said: “Although Robert was upset when he couldn’t join the Royal Navy he didn’t complain about it and just supported his friends who did.”
To donate to Ross’s effort visit www.justgiving.com/Ross-Hastings.