Pedal power fundraiser set to go

Stephen and the team are ready for the off
Stephen and the team are ready for the off

Big-hearted Stephen Donovan and his mates plan to get from The Shore at Carronshore Restaurant to a hotel over 500 miles away in Shoreditch, London, by bike!

The fundraiser for good causes, including Strathcarron Hospice, Cancer Research UK, the Beatson Cancer Charity and Victoria Primary School, has taken months to plan.

But now the team of 10 determined riders are ready to go on July 2 with the target of raising £10,000 driving them to succeed.

Stephen, a 43-year-old estates maintenance officer from Falkirk who works at Forth Valley Royal, completed an 80-mile bike ride for Yorkhill Hospital last year and raised £1100.

When he and his wife, Wendy, visited friends Darren Smith and Johnny Russell in Shoreditch a few months later he mentioned how satisfying that had been.

Stephen said: “We were talking and the next thing they were suggesting one from The Shore in Carronshore to Shoreditch in London and it just grew from there.

“Darren and Johnny said straight away they wanted to take part and travelling up with their bikes to cycle back down with us and raise cash for good causes every mile of the way which is just brilliant.

“When we got back up the road I was speaking about the idea to other cycling friends we know who have also finished charity runs and they said they wanted to be involved too.

“The training’s been pretty intense, I think most of us have been averaging around 150 miles a week to get ready, but we all know it will have been well worth the effort.

“Everything is pretty well organised now. Graham McQueen, another member of the team and the one who has planned our route, has even arranged for his bosses at the Stirling Cycling Hub to provide a support bus to follow behind to carry out ‘repairs’ to the bikes - and riders if required - and also helping sponsor tops and spare equipment!

“The fundraising we started in January is going well. So far we have just over £7300 pledged, but the target is £10,000.”

The riders intend to complete the 510 miles over six days, stopping at Hawick, Bishop Auckland, York, Lincoln and Huntingdon on the way south.