Braving all the elements for charity

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EAGLESHAM resident Ronald MacLean took up his bike recently in aid of Marie Curie cancer care.

A GP in the village for 40 years, the now retired doctor was joined by his daughter Catriona Reynolds, a former Eaglesham primary and Hutchesons’ grammar school pupil, now living in Dundee.

The Étape Caledonia is a gruelling 81-mile cycle challenge taking in views of highland Perthshire.

Anyone aged 18 to 80 can take part, but with a six hour, 15 minute time limit before roads are opened up again, participants need to maintain an average speed of 13 miles per hour around the course, or else finish it alongside traffic.

Despite miserable weather on the day, both father and daughter completed the challenge within three places of one another, and Ronald has raised £472 in the process.

He told The Extra: “There was tremendous support from spectators along the route, despite the weather. This really helped when the going was tough.

“The weather was indeed a challenge, with wild headwinds and rain, but over 4,000 finished the course – 81 miles and over 6,000 feet of ascent.

“I reckon the hills were steeper this year than when I took part three years ago, but perhaps advancing years have something to do with that!”

Murray Easton, Marie Curie’s fundraising manager for South and South West Scotland, thanked the southsider, and commented: “It’s thanks to people like Ronald that we hope to be able to offer more hours of support in 2012 to people with a terminal illness.

“Every £20 raised funds an hour of nursing, so Ronald has made a huge difference with his total raised”.

And from howling winds to high temperatures, as nearly 500 fundraisers donned hot and sweaty costumes for Glasgow’s third Midnight Walk in aid of the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice last weekend.

The walkers set off from Central station at 12, walking either a 5k or 10k route along the Clyde.

Southsider Dave Murray, a 44-year old fitness instructor from King’s Park, was brave enough to don a tiger suit for the night, while Gemma Loudon (32) joined seven friends dressed as angels in memmory of her mother Mo, from Newton Mearns, who received care from the hospice.

Gemma said: “It’s nice to think that some people doing the walk will have raised money at similar events, and it was their support that helped look after my mum – so I’m happy to do the same for other people”.

Organisers hope the walk will have raised over £50,000 for the charity, which plans to build a new hospice facility in Bellahouston by 2016 if it can raise the £2.8 million required.