Linlithgow friends work in tandem to raise money for charity

Linlithgow friends Craig Kennedy (50) and Susan Johnston (50) are celebrating after completing a mammoth 16-day tandem cycle, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and raising almost £15,000 for the charity MND Scotland.

By Kevin Quinn
Friday, 6th August 2021, 1:00 pm
Linlithgow friends Craig Kennedy (50) and Susan Johnston (50) pictured at Land's End for their charity cycle.
Linlithgow friends Craig Kennedy (50) and Susan Johnston (50) pictured at Land's End for their charity cycle.

Craig, a retired firefighter, and Susan, a local primary school teacher, decided to raise money for MND Scotland after their mutual friend Cath Corrie was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2019 aged 50.

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.

Craig said: “We all became friends back in 2009 when our daughters played in Linlithgow Rose's first ever girls football team. It's safe to say that at our many matches, tournaments and nights out, Cath, the team first aider, smiled the brightest and laughed the loudest. She is fighting MND with determination, grace and bravery - an amazing lady!

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Craig and Susan arriving in Linlithgow.

“Cath, her husband Alan and daughters Katie and Rachel have all been supported by MND Scotland over the last two years, so we knew we wanted to do something to help.

“After a few too many gins at New Year 2019/2020 I came up with the completely random plan to do a tandem cycle, from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Neither of us has been on a tandem and we didn’t actually own one, so I had to hunt down a bike for us to use.

“We acquired a lovely 1994 Dawes Galaxy Twin Tandem called ‘MaNDy’ which was lovingly named by Cath.”

Along their 1,020-mile route, Craig and Susan managed to avoid punctures but did have to contend with a loose crank bolt, a broken bottle cage and the chain coming off the 27-year-old bike.

Craig and Susan were met in Linlithgow by Cath and Allan.

Craig added: “The adventure was epic! We definitely had someone looking down on us, as everything just fell into place.

"Everyone that we met was so friendly and helpful. If we got slightly lost there was always a friendly face willing to help. We also had quite a few people coming up to us to chat and find out what we were doing and many donated to our fundraising. The generosity of strangers was amazing.

“As for Susan and I, well Devon and Cornwall were tough due to the sheer number of hills; very steep hills at that. We both thoroughly enjoyed our adventure and managed to cope with getting on the saddles day after day.

“The reaction from family, friends and the local community in Linlithgow has been astonishing. We have raised an incredible amount of money for MND Scotland and the sheer amount of messages of support and encouragement has been unbelievable. I am sure that this helped Susan and I complete our challenge and keep the smiles on our faces all the way through.

Craig and Susan at John O'Groats.

“Cath, Alan and her family have been right behind us the whole way. Our route brought us back to Linlithgow on Day 10 of 15 days cycling, and we had an absolutely incredible welcome home from a large crowd.

"It was quite emotional seeing and hearing everyone there cheering us home. A huge boost for our last five days cycling to John O’Groats.”

Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising at MND Scotland, said: “I’d like to thank Craig and Susan for their incredible effort. Not only did they manage to complete an incredible physical feat, but they have so far raised almost £15,000 to help change lives and fund cutting-edge MND research.

The pair in Linlithgow.

“We are only able to support people affected by motor neurone disease because of incredible people like Craig and Susan who go above and beyond to raise awareness and funds to fuel our fightback against MND.”

You can also donate directly to MND Scotland at www.mndscotland.org.uk.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​