A fundraising bike ride in memory of the 270 victims of 1988’s Lockerbie disaster will head through the Borders this weekend.
The five-strong Cycle to Syracuse team is due to complete the preliminary stage of its transatlantic tribute to those killed by the Pan Am 103 bombing this Wednesday, October 10.
The cyclists – Lockerbie Academy rector Brian Asher and emergency services representatives Colin Dorrance, Paul Rae, David Walpole and David Whalley, RAF Mountain Rescue Service – have been visiting schools in and around Lockerbie as part of their commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the tragedy.
Those visits, the first of three stages of their tribute, have seen them encourage pupils to participate in their journey by clocking up miles on exercise bikes and also give talks to the youngsters involved about the December 21 terrorist atrocity.
The initial stage of the event, in aid of mental health charity Soul Soup, is dedicated to the three children in the Dumfries and Galloway town left dead by the disaster – Joanne Flannigan, Lynsey and Paul Somerville – and also to Andrew McClune, a former Lockerbie Academy head boy killed by an accident at Syracuse University in New York State in 2002.
The next stage is a 70-mile bike ride from Lockerbie to Edinburgh this Saturday, October 13, passing through Broughton and Blyth Bridge.
After that follows a 600-mile ride across the US from Washington DC to Syracuse University in memory of the 35 students there killed when the New York City-bound jet was blown out of the sky.
Colin said: “My team-mates and I are looking forward to being joined by friends and colleagues on the next leg to Edinburgh. The prospect is exciting, humbling and moving.”
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell, also Scottish Secretary, will host a reception at Edinburgh Castle for the cyclists after their arrival in the capital, and he said: “The Cycle to Syracuse is an imaginative and entirely appropriate way to acknowledge this milestone in Lockerbie’s journey since the disaster.”
“I’m particularly pleased that local young people are involved and also that many townspeople and others who helped in the aftermath of the bombing will be represented at Edinburgh Castle.”