From Kilmaurs to Kilimanjaro

Hurricane Ophelia hadn’t yet arrived but extra strong winds on Sunday made it a punishing day in the saddle for a group of fundraisers from Walkers Cycling Club.

Organiser David Kaminski had planned a 50-mile cycle to boost a £20,000 charity appeal launched three months ago by a fellow club rider and his family.

But he didn’t bargain on the coast roads being battered by gale force winds and his distance calculation being out by as much as 20 miles.

In the event the charity riders pedalled more than 70 miles from Kilmaurs to Dailly and back again with Brunston Golf Club providing lunch and a welcome weather break at the halfway turning point.

The aim of the ride was to support club member Gavin Turnbull who is climbing Kilimanjaro this weekend with five others to raise money for CHAS, Children’s Hospices Across Scotland.

Gavin and his relatives had set a target of £19,340 – one pound for every foot climbed on the eight-day trek of the world’s highest freestanding mountain.

With a fortnight to go the total amount donated was just short of the target sum but the climbers were quietly confident that a last-minute push would get them over the line.

Walkers Cycling Club decided to help with a group bike ride that would bring in some extra money. Many members had already contributed but the club felt that another fundraising effort might just nudge the total up to the target mark.

And it certainly helped. By Sunday night the Kilimanjaro fund was standing at £19,700, well above the £19,340 target, thanks in part to the cycle earlier in the day.

The fundraising climb had been planned to raise money which would help repay CHAS for the respite help given to Gavin’s family after his grand-daughter Gracie was born with Cerebral Palsy.

CHAS offers the specialist care that two-year-old Gracie needs, allowing her parents to have a much-needed break in the knowledge that their daughter is in good hands.

Gavin, from Darvel, said: “Every penny received will go to helping CHAS provide this valuable care.

Thanks to everyone who has donated to our Kilimanjaro challenge. We reached the target with a week to go.

“There’s just the small matter now of a big mountain that needs climbed.”

The Kilimanjaro trek team – all relatives – set off for Tanzania on Saturday.

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