Police Scotland staff member raises more than £3,000 for military charity

A Police Scotland support staff member has raised over �3,000 for a military charity.
A Police Scotland support staff member has raised over �3,000 for a military charity.
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Pedal power propelled a Police Scotland support staff member across Europe to raise more than £3,000 for a military charity.

Martin Burnett, who works on the security desk at Fettes, was joined on the gruelling cycle challenge by friend Willie Malloy.

Martin Burnett from Tranent cycles into the Erskine centre in Gilmerton to finish the ride from Rome to Edinburgh. Pic credit: Scott Louden.

Martin Burnett from Tranent cycles into the Erskine centre in Gilmerton to finish the ride from Rome to Edinburgh. Pic credit: Scott Louden.

The pair embarked on the 1,500-mile journey from Rome to Gilmerton over the summer to raise funds for military veteran charity Erskine.

The organisation is a cause close to the pair’s heart, as both served in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots Regiment more than 30 years ago.

Martin and Willie’s Rome to Home journey set off from the Coliseum in the Italian city on August 1, before cycling at least 70 miles a day through challenging terrains in the Austrian Alps, Germany, the Netherlands and England.

As a result of the duo’s efforts, they raised an impressive £3,357.29, with an additional £100 being donated on the day they presented the cheque to Erskine.

Martin, who has now returned to his security officer role, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who donated during this challenge.

“I know the money will be put to good use and help people who are really deserving, having served their country with distinction and bravery.

“As we made our way through some really difficult routes, we would occasionally get updates on how much money had been raised and that was a brilliant motivator to keep us going.

“It was a fantastic feeling when we reached Erskine’s base in Gilmerton and there were so many of our friends and family there to cheer us on for the last leg of the journey.

“Willie and I are now enjoying a well-earned break from long-distance cycling but we’d both be up for taking on new challenges if the opportunity presents itself.”

Erskine provides nursing, residential, respite and dementia care for veterans of the British Armed Forces.

The charity, who this year celebrates 100 years of care provision, launched at the height of the First World War in response to a need for a dedicated war hospital.

An insufficient number of facilities struggled to keep up with the number of limbless soldiers returning from war.

The Scottish public responded, and by October 1916 had funded the first hospital in Erskine, then named Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers. The charity has now built four care homes, including the Erskine Edinburgh Home which was opened in 2002 by the Princess Royal.

The Gilmerton home houses 72 residents and was the charity’s first unit outside the Erskine area. The money raised by Willie and Martin will go towards the running of Erskine, which the charity estimates costs £9 million a year.