Team feels the heat for Lavender Touch challenge ride

Charity trustees and volunteers welcome the team to Jedburgh on Saturday.
Charity trustees and volunteers welcome the team to Jedburgh on Saturday.

A 10-strong team of cyclists overcame hills, potholes and record temperatures to raise more than £8,500 for a Borders charity.

They rode more than 250 miles through 100 Borders villages and towns in just three days in a bid to raise awareness of the Lavender Touch.

Gareth, Keith and Stevie are all smiles up the hill.

Gareth, Keith and Stevie are all smiles up the hill.

The Tweedbank-based charity supports Borderers fighting cancer by providing complementary therapies and other services.

Aged from 24 to 70-plus, the cyclists – from Hawick, Galashiels and Selkirk – were followed by a support bus and volunteers promoting the charity and its work.

The team consisted of Keith Irvine, Stevie Halls, Sinclair Paterson, Ronnie Murray, Josh Irvine, Kevin Mania, Alan Brown, Gareth Brown, Doug Welsh and Chris Lightfoot.

Sheila Scott, a spokesperson for the Lavender Touch, said despite the extremely hot weather, the whole team completed the challenging ride.

“Borderers have been great in their support,” she said.

“We had to appeal for water and food at one point, and offers came in from various sources.

“Milkshakes and ice creams were also donated along the way, and our therapists were on hand at various stops to offer remedial massage, manipulation and first aid where required – or just something as basic as throwing water over the men to cool them down.”

The team were followed the entire way by charity trustees carrying extra water, gels, bike spares and sun cream, while a custom-fitted tour bus went on ahead to main stopping points to welcome visitors and collect donations.

Sheila added: “The very noticeable tour bus, which had been sponsored by Borders businesses, was driven all around the area by Steven Lightfoot, brother of Chris, one of the cyclists.

“Kids around the Borders were fascinated by the bus itself and got shown around the inside, which had been transformed to include tables, seats, bunk beds, a kitchen and a toilet by Chris, who owns the bus.”

The team rode from Galashiels to Duns, Eyemouth and Coldstream on Friday before taking in Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick and Selkirk the following day.

And on Sunday, the cyclists took in the sights of Peebles, Lauder, Earlston and Melrose before arriving back to a rapturous welcome at Galashiels Cricket Club, where a family fun day was held.

“At the end of each day, the guys were keen to get a cool soak,” Sheila added.

“The North Sea at Eyemouth was one place they used, and in Coldstream they managed a dip in the Tweed.”

Southern readers can still donate by texting ‘overthehill’ to 70085 or via the website www.lavendertouch.co.uk