Cyclists pedal 500-miles charity ride in memory of friend

Stuart Downie, Kevin Duncan, Sean Duncan and Paul Barry will cycle 100 miles a day for five days. Picture: Contributed
Stuart Downie, Kevin Duncan, Sean Duncan and Paul Barry will cycle 100 miles a day for five days. Picture: Contributed
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A GROUP of cyclists who pedalled hundreds of miles to raise cash for a cancer charity in memory of their friend are gearing up for a second stint in the saddle.

In 2012 Paul Barry, Sean Duncan, Kevin Duncan and Stuart Downie pedalled more than 1000 miles from Edinburgh to France, raising thousands of pounds for the Nicola Murray Foundation. Now the foursome are hoping to top up this total by taking on a 500-mile ride through the Scottish countryside as part of the North Coast 500 challenge.

Dad-of-two Paul, from Tranent, explained they would be setting off on April 2 and that the challenge would see them cycling 100 miles a day.

The 36-year-old said: “People’s lives took a different path so it’s the first time in five years that we have got this window of opportunity to come together again and do another charity ride. We are all very passionate about raising money for the Nicola Murray Foundation because we knew her for a long time – she was a big part of our lives, we knew her growing up.

“It had to be a bit smaller and more local – we thought about the North Coast 500 because it’s Scotland’s answer to Route 66. There’s been a lot of good press about there being 500 miles of stunning scenery.”

The Nicola Murray Foundation was set up in memory of Nicola Murray, who passed away in April 2010 aged 34 – just four months after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The charity aims to raise money to fund ovarian cancer research and has so far seen around £250,000 donated to the cause.

In their last ride the group brought in a hefty £11,750 for the charity and they are now hoping they can raise enough money to bring this total up to £15,000.

Paul, who works as a community charge nurse for people with learning difficulties, said he met Nicola while working with a group which takes people with disabilities on holiday.

“She [Nicola] was a well-loved family friend for a long time,” he said. “It was a shock what happened to her.

“She was adamant that something could be done about the lack of research available for that particular type of ovarian cancer because there wasn’t much research for it.

“The type of cancer she has isn’t prominent and doesn’t show itself until the later stages which leaves a bleaker outlook for cancer sufferers. In Nicola’s case she was left with very little time. Her wish was that outcomes for more people would be better than that. The only way that could happen was for research to be carried out, which needs money and that’s what we are trying to help with.”

Caroline Turnbull, Nicola’s sister and one of the charity’s founders, said: “The boys have been with us from the start – they have always tried to turn up to our events or be involved. They are family men now, they don’t have so much time to train so the fact they have found the time to train and get together and organise themselves has been lovely.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cycle-for-nicola.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk