Pedal power piles up charity cash

Representatives from Macmillan Cancer Support accept a cheque from George Murray and cyclists in the Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club.
Representatives from Macmillan Cancer Support accept a cheque from George Murray and cyclists in the Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club.

George Murray admits he is bursting with pride and disbelief after seeing more than £57,000 swell into the coffers of three local charities after another hugely successful charity cycle.

But now, after their biggest haul yet, Mr Murray has insisted it is time for him hand the reigns over to someone else.

More than £43,000 of this year’s total is going to Macmillan Cancer Support with £10,000 going to Crossroads and £2000 to Lewis and Harris Youth Clubs – sums which have stunned
 Mr Murray.

“All the money came via sponsorship or donations on Just Giving,” he said.

“The amount we have raised has just blown me away and it is a testament to the generosity of the people of the islands.”

Having raised a whopping £21,500 in 2014 nobody expected this year’s team to more than double the tally, although a larger of cyclists were taking part.

Mr Murray continued: “In 2014 we raised £21,500 but we had far fewer cyclists.

“This year we had 50 cyclists with the team and every single one of them who set off at the beginning completed the journey.

“People came from all over Scotland to join in and it has been brilliant.”

Originally the Butt to Barra cycle was something which was being done by a handful of police officers but Mr Murray was convinced the concept could be expanded to include more people and raise more money – something which he has long been proved right on.

“It is quite gruelling and it is far from a cake walk,” said Mr Murray of the cycle itself.

“The pack is only ever as quick as the slowest rider and it is not a race. We all look after one another. The cycle has helped forge friendships, many of them continuing friendships.

“This was my fifth time organising the event and it’s time for me now to take a step back.

“It takes up a lot of time and with me due to retire next year it is a good time to let somebody else take it over.

“The cycle wouldn’t be possible without the help and generosity of so many people who help make it possible. We owe them a huge amount of thanks.”