Two Selkirk brothers and a group of friends set out from Edinburgh on Tuesday at the start of ‘The Great Big Cycle’ – an ambitious charity ride around the UK and Ireland.
And Neil and Grant Hutchison aim to raise £100,000 for the Cystinosis Foundation UK in the process.
The duo were inspired to undertake the 1,100-mile ride by the courage of Neil’s daughter Morven, who was born with cystinosis, an incurable genetic condition that requires the four-year-old to take an array of life-saving drugs on a daily basis.
Morven, along with her mother, Alex, and one-year-old sister Ailish, were on hand to welcome the cyclists to the group’s first official refreshment stop at Selkirk Rugby Club on Tuesday morning.
Grant – better known as the drummer of popular indie band Frightened Rabbit – told The Wee Paper during the stopover that everyone had been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received from friends, well-wishers and sponsors.
“As of this morning more than £50,000 has been raised towards the projected total, which has given all the riders a huge boost,” he added.
“The distance of the ride has definitely taken all of us out of our comfort zones, but it is such a worthwhile cause that we’re determined to complete the whole route, come what may.
“Helping to raise money to find a cure for Morven and other children like her is the most important thing, and though we are going to be absolutely exhausted by the end, every single mile will be worthwhile.”
Neil and Grant’s brother, Scott, the lead singer of Frightened Rabbit, flies back from Los Angeles later this week and will drive one of the support vans for the final week of the ride.
Wearing cycling tops emblazoned with the slogan ‘1,100 Miles, 5 Capitals, 12 Days, 10 Cyclists, 1 Great Cause’, the riders aim to reach London on May 17, Cardiff on May 19, Dublin on May 21, Belfast on May 22, finishing back in Edinburgh on May 24.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to The Great Big Cycle can go to Neil’s JustGiving online page at www.justgiving.com/greatbigcycle, or to donate £10 text TGBC99 £10 to 70070.