Falkirk biker goes the distance to say thanks to hospice

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Howgate boss Suzanne Arkinson feared she had made the wrong decision midway through her outdoor challenge.

Lost in the Kinross-shire drizzle with no-one else in sight, the shopping centre general manager began to think her attempt at a fundraising triathlon had been too ambitious.

Her plan to raise cash for charity seemed like a good idea in the planning stage but when she was taking part it was a different story.

The bike ride was part of a challenging triathlon that she set herself after tragedy hit the shopping centre.

Suzanne said: “Graham Allan, who worked for HMV in the Howgate and was a well-known Falkirk character, died on Hogmanay 2012.

“His last days were spent in Strathcarron Hospice and, despite the fact that I knew of their work, and indeed Howgate had organised many fundraisers over the years, seeing the support that the hospice gave him, and to his friends and family, made me determined that I would personally do something to help.”

Not a keen swimmer, she adapted the triathlon replacing the water with a hike to the top of Goat Fell in Arran.

Although she loves cycling, the rain-soaked 66-miles was tough. She added: “But I thought of the people I was raising money for back at Strathcarron.”

Her father completed both the bike ride and the mountain hike, but couldn’t take part in the women’s 10k run, while her cousin did the bike ride.

Suzanne raised £800 for the hospice and Action Medical Research.

She said: “It’s a privilege to be able to get out there and make a difference.”

Next month, she will be part of the Howgate team taking part in an ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition.