A MORAY CYCLING CLUB whose members’ average age is well over 60 has boosted their total fundraising efforts to almost £54,000 through their latest exploit.
Led by Lossiemouth-based Walter Sutherland, 62, Moray Wheelers will this week present £15,771 to the local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK – the result of the club’s stunning efforts.
Walter, an RAF Reserve officer with 2622 (Highland) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, led 26 club members on a 320-mile cycle trip to Skye and back over a four day period. It is the latest exploit from the intrepid team who had already raised thousands for the charity when they took to their ‘Hebridean Challenge’ three years ago.
Mr Sutherland, who was awarded an MBE in 2013, was inspired to his exceptional fundraising efforts after losing his 18-year-old son Scott to a rare form of bone cancer. He said: “Cancer is a devastating disease and of course Scott’s death hit my family hard. I wanted to do something fitting in his memory that would raise money for Cancer Research UK to help scientists in their work to improve treatments.
“Everyone from Moray Wheelers who took part in the both the Hebridean and West Coast Challenges did so for different reasons- but Cancer Research UK is a cause that resonates with all of us. Unfortunately, we have all been touched by cancer in some way.
“Raising the money and completing the challenge was a real team effort. Since then we have continued fundraising and decided this year it was time to get back on our bikes and push ourselves again to raise some more funds for Cancer Research UK.”
Heavy rain and squally showers throughout their latest exploits in May this year made the challenge a particularly daunting one – however, Walter said that the group were made of “tough stuff – at no stage did anyone get downhearted”.
He added: “The camaraderie and constant banter that exists in the Moray Wheelers is what keeps us all going in the face of adversity – I count myself very lucky to be a member of this very special group of friends.
“Scott would have been proud of the efforts of everyone who has supported the Moray Wheelers efforts to go the extra mile to raise a lot of money for Cancer Research UK.”
Scott was a lively and outgoing Forres Academy pupil living in Hopeman when he became unwell, tests revealing that he was suffering from Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer which is most often diagnosed in teenagers or young adults. In Britain fewer than 40 children aged under 15 are diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma and related tumours each year
Dorothy Rodger, Local Fundraising Manager for Cancer Research UK said “It is fantastic that Walter and the Moray Wheelers have continued to support us and we can’t thank them enough.
“Cancer Research UK has made enormous progress in the fight against cancer. However, we have only been able to do this thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteers and supporters without whom we would not be able to fund our research.”
For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit cruk.org.