Epic cycle challenge raises funds for charity

Poppyscotland sportive

More than 900 riders took to the roads and hills of East Lothian this weekend as part of the annual Poppyscotland Sportive

30th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Cyclists took on a scenic route at the weekend for a charity challenge.

More than 900 riders took to the roads and hills of East Lothian this weekend as part of the annual Poppyscotland Sportive cycling event which will ultimately help to raise tens of thousands of pounds for Scotland’s leading Armed Forces charity.

Poppyscotland’s Sportive, which first took place in 2014 and has been voted one of the top three Sportives in Scotland by Sportive.com, gave riders a choice of three routes on Sunday (29 September) – 47, 68 or 102 miles –  to suit a variety of levels of experience and fitness. All three took participants along the beautiful East Lothian coast and then back though its stunning hills and countryside, with the 100-mile circuit also taking riders over the challenging Lammermuir Hills and into the Scottish Borders.

This year’s event, sponsored by Fred Olsen Renewables, again featured the timed hill climb just past North Berwick, which allowed riders to take on a short sharp hill climb and battle it out to become the King or Queen of the Heugh. This year, a piper was on hand to encourage riders up the steep climb. 

Taking part in the short route were friends and neighbours Sue Fernandes, 52, and Mary-Lou Docherty, 56, from Cramond, Edinburgh. Mary-Lou is a risk manager, while Sue is an Investment manager, whose brother and sister-in-law both serve in the RAF. It was their first Poppyscotland Sportive having only signed up in the past couple of weeks, and they are both raising money for the charity.

Meanwhile, travelling through from the west of Scotland were Morag MacFarlane, 53, from Bearsden, near Glasgow, and Graham Reid, 52, from Paisley. The pair, who work together, were taking part with three other colleagues.   

Organiser Katriona Harding said: “Poppyscotland Sportive is one of the most important awareness-raising and fundraising events in our calendar. Over the past six years, more than £210,000 has been raised, which goes towards our life-changing support of Scotland’s Armed Forces community that we provide.

“Money raised from events like the Sportive has allowed Poppyscotland to launch our new welfare support service, with a dedicated team across the country to help veterans on a local level. Our ambition to reach even more veterans over the coming year is reliant on our ability to raise more money. While the Poppyscotland Sportive is great fun, the fundraising our amazing cyclists undertake makes a life-changing difference to the Armed Forces community to ensure that we are behind them. Always.”

Best known for running the iconic Scottish Poppy Appeal, Poppyscotland reaches out to those who have served, those still serving, and their families at times of crisis and need by offering vital, practical advice, assistance and funding. The charity believes that no veteran should live without the prospect of employment, good health and a home, and we all have part to play in achieving this.