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999 team in 3238 mile Lockerbie tribute

Section:  Lockerbie and Lochmaben  | Tags: , , ,

A TEAM of life saver emergency service workers are planning a ‘Cycle to Syracuse’ tribute to mark the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster.

This year marks three decades since the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 and a group of local emergency service responders are teaming up with Lockerbie Academy and Syracuse University to hold a memorial cycle ride event this autumn.

The team, which comprises of Lockerbie police officer  Colin Dorrance, fire officer Paul Rae, paramedics David Walpole and Paul Malner, and RAF officer David Whalley will join Lockerbie Academy rector Brian Asher and cycle from Lockerbie to Syracuse in three stages, taking in a total of 3238 miles.

It will all begin at the school with a mass exercise bike event in October involving volunteer pupils and then the team of six emergency workers will cycle from Lockerbie Academy to Edinburgh Castle.

They will then cycle to the Lockerbie Memorial Cairn at Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC, and continue the cycle ride from there to Syracuse University, in time to arrive at the annual Remembrance event which is attended by the two Lockerbie Scholars each year.

The final American leg of the journey is 600 miles and will take the team seven days to complete, with the route going from Washington, through Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.

They will link their progress back to Lockerbie each day via social media and local press.

Charity challenge

THE tribute challenge will also serve as a fundraiser to help mental health charity, Heads Together.

Sgt Colin Dorrance said: “We wanted to do something inclusive, unique, constructive and positive to pay our respects to the townspeople and the passengers from the aircraft.

“We also wish to recognise the fantastic response of the townspeople in the face of adversity and the tireless work of the emergency, professional and voluntary services at the time.”

Colin added: “Post Traumatic Stress was and remains a major issue and much was learned about it through the aftermath and in the years since.

“We aim to highlight the positive effects exercise can have on mental health for both younger and older people.

“I have had the privilege of seeing both my children be awarded the scholarship and as a result, like many others, we have hosted many visitors to the town from around the world – research students and university staff as well as friends and relatives of the deceased passengers.

“My colleagues and I want to complete this challenge as a statement of thanks, support and unity for all those affected.”

Never forget

HEAD teacher Brian Asher is joining the cycling team.

He said: “The school has a highly valued ongoing scholarship programme with Syracuse University.

“Our town lost three children in the tragedy and Syracuse University lost 35 of its students.

“We aim to remember them all, including all the residents from the town and passengers from the aircraft, as wells as our scholar Andrew McClune, who died while at Syracuse in 2002.”

He added: “The motto of the Syracuse Remembrance programme is ‘Look Back, Act Forward’ so this is not only going to be a memorial, but a look forward at the positive things that have come from the transatlantic bonds and friendships that the scholarship continually helps to forge each year.”

The journey

Stage 1
Pupil power at Lockerbie Academy – a group of students will complete a 2568 mile combined cycle on exercise bikes at the school.

Stage 2
Lockerbie Academy to Edinburgh Castle – on October 13 the journey continues when the core team of cyclists travel from Lockerbie Academy to Edinburgh Castle, where they will hopefully be met by a high up member of the Scottish Government.

Stage 3
Washington DC to Syracuse University – on October 26 the core team will ride from the Memorial Cairn at Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC, across 600 miles north to Syracuse University.
The team will attend the
Rose Laying Remembrance ceremony on Friday November 2.

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