An event to launch a new Forres-based charity aimed at offering assistance to local people who have suffered a stroke or head injury has been declared as a major success.
When local man Callum Finlayson was suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis he was advised that he would likely have to give up his passion for cycling.
The former serviceman and a member of the Moray Cycling Club, Callum refused to give in and slowly built up his strength and will to compete again. That climaxed in his winning the Scottish 100-mile championship last year – now the 42 year old is hoping to take on the British 100-mile time trial in July.
Callum is the driving force behind the ‘PedalStrokes’ charity, for which he organised a special Burns’ Supper in the Mosset Tavern. One of Scotland’s best after-dinner speakers, Ian Thain, helped host the evening – while connected donations made to Callum’s website brought in a whopping £7600.
Callum said: “The event has been a huge success, it was fantastic and is one of the best things I have been involved in.
“The majority of the money will be used for PedalStrokes – I want to help people who have sarcoidosis, have suffered stroke or head injury or are former military personnel. The launch of the charity means we now have a financial footing to really help people.
“Cycling saved me and I believe through PedalStrokes I will be able to help others who have been in a similar situation. I really think I could be a good mentor for people and help them on the road to recovery.”
However, Callum who lives with his wife Stephanie and son Brodie explained he was overwhelmed by the amount of people who also donated cash to help him get a new bike for the British Championship race.
He said: “To raise that money for the charity was spectacular, but so many people also gave me money to put towards the equipment.
“There we a few donations on the night towards the bike, but most have come through the website. I need to win the British championship in record breaking time and this is a huge boost.
“I am still a long way off getting the thousands of pounds needed to get an all-singing, all-dancing bike, if there’s someone out there who can help, please get in touch. However, we are getting there and the important thing is that we now have a great start for the charity.”
To help Callum in his pledge to thrash the Scottish record and to find out more about his charity visit www.callumfinlayson.co.uk.