A caring crew of cyclists went to extreme lengths to raise £3200 for a brave youngster battling a muscle-wasting disease.
The five pedal pushers moved through the gears to complete the North Coast 500 and return to Falkirk all in aid of six-year-old Brightons boy Kerr Hunter, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
Diagnosed at the age of just three, the condition could leave Kerr wheelchair-bound by the time he turns 12.
Starting at Inverness Castle, the North Coast 500 Then Hame trip was organised by John Scullion, a cousin of Kerr’s mum Alyson.
He is confident the final total the group will hand over to the Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund will be over the £5000 mark once all of the donations have been counted.
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Although there were some snags along the way, including being blown off their bikes and a support van breaking down, the hardy team successfully completed the challenge at the Kelpies last Sunday, where they were cheered over the finish line by friends and family, including Kerr.
Reflecting on the trials and tribulations of the week-long fundraiser, John said: “I’m absolutely knackered!
“It was a tremendous experience. We had some ups and downs, as you would expect, and some good and bad weather but we all made it even though there were a few crashes.
“We got finished on time but it didn’t go to plan all the way round.
“We had hired a support vehicle. One of the guys, Charlie, was driving it for us. We tried to camp for most of it to keep the cost down and kept our stuff in the vehicle.
“After ten miles one of the days the van broke down in Durness so it was a case of putting the backpacks on. We couldn’t make it to John O’Groats so we were just making it up as we went on and added about 20 miles on.
“The van never got fixed until about 11.45pm that night!”
John was joined on the North Coast 500 Then Hame jaunt by his friends Charlie Sims, Richards Sims, Steven Keiss, Wayne Kirkness and Stephen Humphrys.
The group was backed by a bunch of local businesses, such as Kudos Interiors, Falkirk Homes, Ergo Sports, who provided specially designed t-shirts, and the Doubletree Hilton in Dunblane.
As well as the monetary motivation, John also revealed the thought of Kerr and his family waiting at the Kelpies to welcome them home spurred the riders on to keep on pedalling.
John continued: “It was absolutely brilliant — there was a whole load of people.
“It was just nice to see everybody again and we had kids joining in from the Falkirk Stadium.
“It was to raise awareness as well of the condition and I think we achieved that. The support we got throughout the whole thing was great.
“A massive thanks to everybody who supported us in any way. It really helped us get through.
“We were checking all the messages all the way through and they definitely made it easier.”
After welcoming the team home, Alyson said: “It was great to see them all coming back and hear how it all went. They faced a few challenges along the way but they did absolutely amazing. We are so grateful.”
Donations can still be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nc500thenhame.