After 2 days and over 200 miles of cycling, Dave Hancock and Matt Blackham, both originally from Ellon, completed their challenge to cycle a mile for each person in the UK with Cystinosis, raising over £5,500 in the process and more than double their initial target!
The challenge was conceived back in February of this year. Rather than just driving from his home in Edinburgh to visit his Cystinotic niece, Lena Forysth from Mintlaw near Peterhead, Matt decided to take the opportunity to cycle the distance in order to raise awareness and funds for the Cystinosis Foundation UK. These funds would help continue funding of research into Cystinosis. Lena’s father and chairman of the Cystinosis Foundation UK, Roy Forsyth, explains:
"Cystinosis is extremely rare and unknown, so it is difficult to diagnose and very complicated to treat. Our charity is very small, but succeeding in supporting two medical research projects at The Robert Gordon University and Sunderland University. These projects have a real chance of improving the lives of Cystinotics."
Several months of training ensued, along with promotional activities to highlight the cycle and raise sponsorship. Then on August 28th the two cyclists set off from Edinburgh over the Forth Road Bridge, along the Fife coast to St Andrews, over the Tay Bridge to Dundee and finishing in Arbroath over 100 miles later.
The following day, the pair were joined by keen cyclist Mike Perkins and continued north along the coast to Stonehaven, cut in-land through Inverurie and Ellon, before finishing in Mintlaw to a loud welcome from friends and family. Mike continued to cycle a further 50Km in order to cycle over 200Km in one day – one for every person with Cystinosis in the UK, mirroring David and Matt’s achievement of one mile per person and raising further sponsorship.
"The cycle itself was fantastic with no mishaps on the way” says Matt. “We enjoyed beautiful scenery all along the coast and were fortunate with the weather, although we only just made it across the Forth Road Bridge before it shut to cyclists due to high winds!”"
Heading over the 1.25 mile Tay Bridge to Dundee.
Day two, cycling north from Arbroath and Mike joins the party.
Lena Forsyth presents the cyclists with money she raised.
Matt, David & Mike (left to right) celebrate in style.
The group received a substantial contribution from Edinburgh based software consultancy, Scott Logic, and also received donations from collections at the Crichie Inn in Stuartfield, family and other friends. Lena’a Grandmother, Elizabeth Forsyth, managed to raise nearly £400 from residents in her local village of Mintlaw. However, the trio still covered all the costs of the challenge from their own pockets:
"All the money we raise will go directly to research projects we know are making a difference. And we are incredibly grateful to all those who helped us with the cycle, including our support car driver Amanda Murray”" says cyclist Matt.
The cycle also attracted media attention, with articles in various local and regional newspapers across Scotland. And a photographer from the Ellon Advertiser was present to photograph the cycling trio finish. Some of these media articles are still available on-line:
You can still donate to their cause at: