Published: 02/04/2016 08:30 - Updated: 01/04/2016 16:55

Gearing up for a marathon cycle ride

Written byVal Sweeney

The team of cyclists.
The team of cyclists.

A seven-strong team of novice cyclists are gearing up for a 120-mile ride to help young patients in Raigmore Hospital.

The riders, who all work for UK professional management services company Turner & Townsend, aim to cycle from Inverness to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital over two days.

The money raised will go to the children’s charity, the ARCHIE Foundation, whose £2 million Highland Children’s Unit Appeal, launched in conjunction with the Inverness Courier, hit its target last week.

The appeal is enabling the development of a more child-centred and family-friendly children’s department which is due to open its doors in a few weeks.

Set to transform children’s healthcare for a generation, it will have its own entrance and include a 30-bed inpatient area with a four-bed high dependency unit, two-bed room for teenagers or patients needing palliative care and a family room. There will also be separate triage and day care areas, an education room, play room and outside play courtyard and a telehealth training room.

Turner & Townsend has worked with the ARCHIE Foundation on various projects over the past two years in Inverness.

The cycle team, which hopes to raise £5000, comprises Matt Cunningham, Michael Motion, Norrie Kitson, Robert Denholm, Ben Johnston, Laurence Casserly and Grant Nicolle. They will set off from Inverness on Friday, April 29, cycle to Archiestown in Moray for an overnight stay, and complete the challenge on Saturday, April 30.

"We are all novice cyclists, and a little worried about the hills," Mr Cunningham said. "However, we are really committed to the challenge and I think determination will get us through.

"Because we are all based all over the country within the company, we haven’t been able to train together but we all have been generally trying to get fitter for the challenge.

"The ARCHIE Foundation is a fantastic organisation that raises much needed funds for specialist hospital equipment for children and staff training.

"As well as this, the work they do to make a child’s time in hospital that little bit less daunting, enabling parents to stay close by and just providing emergency support, advice and assistance is incredible. It’s a very worthy cause."

Laura Mackintosh, the ARCHIE Foundation’s head of fundraising for the Highlands and Islands, said: "We wish the team all the luck in the world and we are delighted that they have chosen to do it for ARCHIE."

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