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Charity cyclists make schools pitstops

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By Fiona Reid
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Charity cyclists make schools pitstops

WARM welcomes, cheers, and words of encouragement greeted a group of charity cyclists as they made pitstops at 11 secondary schools in the region this week.

Led by Rodger Hill, the team is making their way from Edinburgh to Dublin, via this region, raising money for and awareness of CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).

The Cycle4David is in memory of Dumfriesshire man David Hill, Rodger’s son, who died, aged 30, of a sudden and undiagnosed heart condition while playing rugby in Ireland two years ago.

The cyclists’ efforts will mark the second anniversary of his death and they will arrive at the Donnybrook Stadium in time for Rodger to present the David Hill Memorial Quaich to the winners of a cross party rugby match between Holyrood against Dail and Seanad XV.

Speaking at Lockerbie Academy on Monday, which was day three of the challenge, Rodger said: “It’s going really well so far, we are about 85 miles in, of 320 in total.

“It’s been very emotional coming into the schools and today, seeing the group here, and the support of all the schools.”

And he revealed that he’s getting used to being back on a bike after 20 years and said he had put in 1200 road miles as training, including going out during the winter storms.

Asked what David would make of his dad’s efforts, he said: “He would be ending himself, he was not a cyclist either.”

But it will all pay off as they are set to raise over £10,000 and that money will stay in Dumfries and Galloway and pay for scores of cardiac screening slots for young people locally.

“£1300 would pay for 200 tests so the higher we go, the better,” said Rodger. “We have already booked in 600 tests in Dumfries and Galloway, they start in May. They are free slots that people can book.”

Also riding in the group is David’s stepmum Lesley, his uncle Doug and aunties Jackie and Mandy and cousin Gregor; while his mum Sharon will be at Saturday’s game.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth was at Lockerbie on Monday to show his support and said: “I have the privilege of chairing the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Heart Disease, and Rodger and Lesley attend our meetings, raising awareness of the issue of sudden cardiac deaths among young people and I would like to pay tribute to them and everyone who took part in such a gruelling challenge for such an important cause.”

* To donate, go to www.justgiving.com and search Cycle4David2024.

Pictured above Rodger and Carolyn Hill with Colin Smyth MSP

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