Inspirational Falkirk man receives thanks from Prime Minister

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A young Falkirk man has received a personal thankyou letter from Prime Minister Theresa May for his work helping local elderly folk.

More than a simple statutory acknowledgement, her letter to Fraser Johnston spells out exactly why she thinks his efforts - which have won him recognition in the Points of Light Award scheme - are inspirational.

Fraser (20) is founder of Cycling without Age Falkirk, leading a team of volunteers who pilot three-wheeled Trishaw bikes which give older people the chance to get out in the fresh air and meet passers-by.

When Fraser featured on BBC3’s Amazing Humans - in which he took care home resident Mary Duncan for a hurl on a Trishaw - the film went viral, with 38 million views in just seven days.

He now plans to roll out the scheme across the whole of Scotland, with financial backing from the Scottish Government.

It will involve providing information about working with nursing home staff, councils and cyclists to get new groups up and running.

Now Fraser has becomethe latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

In her personal letter to Fraser, Mrs May said: “As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS I want to pay tribute to the work you are doing to tackle loneliness and improve the wellbeing of older people in your community.

“The innovative ‘Cycling Without Age’ programme is giving elderly Falkirk residents an opportunity to get out in the fresh air, socialise and enjoy a bike ride with you and your volunteers.

“Now, as the idea is adopted by communities across Scotland, you are inspiring others to make a difference.”

Fraser said of this high-level recognition: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been recognised by the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award.

“Cycling is a lifelong passion of mine - from finding ways to help the elderly get back outside and explore their local area on Trishaws through ‘Cycling Without Age’, to getting young people on their bikes, establishing the first ever Club for young people in my home town - the Falkirk Junior Bike Club.

“This has grown from nothing in 2016 to now having over 100 riders at our weekly sessions”.

He added: “Cycling has a widespread appeal to people from all walks of life, and I’m particularly excited that all of my voluntary work in this area has been recognised in this way.

“I’ve recently started working for Scottish Cycling as a Regional Development Officer across the West and South-West of Scotland, giving me the opportunity to drive forward the future of the sport on a much bigger level that I have ever had before.”

Fraser was invited to an NHS70 event and official reception at No.10 Downing Street earlier this month, where he was presented with his certificate by Mrs May.