A 20-year-old who gives older people a new lease of life by spending time with them has been given two major honours for his work.
Fraser Johnston, from Larbert, has been hailed as a pioneer for spearheading the Falkirk-based Cycling Without Age scheme, which takes care home residents out on a trishaw bike to enable them to get out into the fresh air and keep them active in old age.
He was given a Pride of Britain award at a glittering ceremony attended Prince William and celebrities David Beckham and Sir Rod Stewart in London on Tuesday and the 18th annual event will be shown on television on November 7.
Seated at his table were entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne and TV star Chris Tarrant.
And the UK-wide award wasn’t the only one Fraser received over the past week as he was also handed the Community Champion Award at the Great Scot Awards on Sunday at a ceremony hosted by Jackie Bird in Glasgow.
Fraser said: “I was delighted to win the Great Scot Community Champion Award.
“We only started offering the rides in February this year and it has been amazing to see how fast it has taken off. Cycling Without Age is a really simple concept that everyone can identify with.”
Pride of Britain judges said: “For a young man like Fraser to dedicate so much of his time to helping the older generation is an amazing, selfless thing to do. And the fact he’s inspiring others to do the same thing is just wonderful.”
Cycling Without Age is a movement which began in Denmark, but was adopted by Falkirk charity Communities Along The Carron (CATCA) organiser Fraser who witnessed it in action on a trip there.
The scheme sees Fraser – who was employed part-time by CATCA to help deliver the project – and other volunteers pedal a trishaw with older passengers from local care homes or individuals who struggle to get out of their own homes.
It gives older people social and health benefits and allows younger people to interact with older generations and an online BBC video about the scheme went viral with more than 26 million views this year.
CATCA founder Christine Bell, who accompanied Fraser to the London awards ceremony, said: “Fraser was a little overwhelmed but obviously delighted with the award, which is well deserved.
“Fraser was exactly the right person for this project as he has all the attributes needed to do it as he has empathy with older people, is a keen cyclist and is a dedicated volunteer for CATCA.
“Thanks to the success and the great job Fraser has done, we have just been told we will receive funding to help roll it out across Scotland and there are 17 local authorities waiting to speak to us.
“We also now have a number if volunteers doing the rides which include retired police and fire officers and a retired governor of Scottish prisons.”
CATCA chairman Ian Howarth said: “We are grateful for all the hard work and contribution of our volunteers, committee and partners to make this all happen. We’d also like to thank Graeme Hendry from the Carrondale Care Home who opened the doors for us.”