A DUMFRIESSHIRE dairy farmer is getting on his bike to raise money for and awareness of a good cause.
Alistair Marshall, of Carrutherstown, is cycling around Scotland in June in support of the Royal Highland Education Trust’s (RHET) work to connect young people with farming and the working countryside.
He has been chairman of RHET since 2021 and will be cycling through each of the 13 RHET Countryside Initiative areas.
Alistair hopes the Chairman’s Challenge will raise at least £10,000 to support the charity to continue to provide free educational activities and experiential learning for 3–18 year olds.
He said: “I’m immensely proud of the work RHET does, which each year makes it possible for around 70,000 children to visit a working farm or benefit from a classroom activity focussed on food and farming.
“But, like a lot of charities and businesses, the pandemic hit hard, and this challenge is one way to help raise money to ensure we can continue to take the classroom to the countryside.
“Thankfully, I won’t be doing this challenge alone as volunteers from across RHET’s network will be cycling parts of the challenge with me. We will also be joined by the RHET sheep, which will be decorated by school children and sit alongside the RHASS ‘Flock to the Show’ art display at the Royal Highland Show,”
The challenge will start in the Lothians on Tuesday June 13 and the route will take him to schools in the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and Arran, Dumbarton, Lomond and Renfrew, Argyll and Bute, Forth Valley, Clyde, Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Perth and Kinross and Fife, before finishing at the Royal Highland Show on June 22.
Alistair added: “There are opportunities available for organisations to throw their support behind the initiative, including different sponsorship packages with sponsors’ logos featured on the RHET support vehicle which will be part of the challenge entourage.”
Explaining the challenges they have faced, Katrina Barclay, chief executive of RHET, said: “The impact of the pandemic has been felt keenly by our young people making it more important than ever to be offering RHET’s unique service. And although the pandemic has also resulted in greater interest in food provenance and sustainability, it has put even greater pressure on RHET’s resources. For example, the cost of transporting 50 school children to a farm by bus has increased by 200 per cent.
“I would really encourage anyone who can to get behind our chairman as he puts rubber to the road, all for a great cause.”
To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/RHET-ChairmansCycleChallenge