Tragic student’s dad in epic bike ride south

The group celebrates finishing the testing challenge at Harper Adams, along with some of George's friends
The group celebrates finishing the testing challenge at Harper Adams, along with some of George's friends

The father of a tragic 20-year-old student from Melrose killed by a car accident in October has led a group of a dozen cyclists on a fundraising ride in his memory.

Cameron Crawford, 52, led the expedition from his home near the Borders town to Harper Adams University in Newport, Shropshire, where his son George lost his life on his way home from an evening out with friends.

On leaving Melrose, the cyclists visited George's grave.

On leaving Melrose, the cyclists visited George's grave.

The so-called Harper Adams or Bust ride was no pedal in the park as the team battled strong headwinds, rain and 8,300m of elevation over the 365-mile journey.

However, between them, they raised £35,000 for the George Crawford Legacy Trust, set up in the popular 20-year-old’s name.

Cameron said: “Gosh, it was tough, twice as hard as we had thought.

“To get there, we had to go through the Peak District, and it isn’t named as such for nothing.

“The whole thing took us four days to complete at an average of 90 miles a day.

“One of the other riders summed the whole thing up well. He told me ‘I’m not here to enjoy it, I’m here to do it’, which I think was very apt.

“It was also very emotive to pass the spot where George died, but we did get a great reception at the university from his friends.

“The two extremes, from seeing the site of the accident to seeing George’s friends again, so close together was an emotional rollercoaster.

“Even though George only knew these youngsters for a matter of days, the lasting legacy he has left on them is something else.

“Some of the girls have been doing a marketing project and they made some soap for the trust, which has been selling well.

“George may no longer be here, but his legacy can continue.”

The trust was set up to help individuals and groups not funded by bigger organisations in the same way a similar body in Galashiels does as a tribute to a nine-year-old lad who died playing cricket there.

Cameron explained: “We were inspired to do this by the family of Rowan Boland who have helped so many young sports people through the trust’s funds. It’s exactly what we are setting out to do.”

And he revealed that George’s trust intends to help out another young sports star whose plight was highlighted in last week’s Southern.

Kelso teenager Angus Brice was just about to get back into the sport of enduro racing after a long spell of illness, only to have his specialised motorbike stolen.

Cameron said: “George too was an enduro racer in his teens and won some of the competitions Angus has. He also had his bike nicked, so we are going to offer a donation.”

The trust is hosting a memorial rugby match at the Haugh in Earlston on Sunday, June 30, organised by Kit Buchan.

It will be between George’s friends and fellow players against another team of students, but there will be a few famous names taking to the park as well.

Cameron said: “We are lucky enough to have a former British Lion, Gary Armstrong pulling on his boots again, but he’s getting on a bit so it will probably be for the last 20 minutes.

“Our good friend Doddie Weir is also coming along, but he’ll be on the sidelines as a spectator.

“There will also be an auction after the match to raise some money for the trust.”

Cameron said that the trust also hopes to host a charity ball in November at Georgefield Farm. A website for the trust is currently being designed.