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OAP to take on Tour de France mountain stages in cycle fundraiser for SNAP Inverness work in the Highlands

By Philip Murray

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Patrick Balfour at the cheque handover after last year's fundraiser.
Patrick Balfour at the cheque handover after last year's fundraiser.

An endurance fundraiser who completed a Lands End to John O’Groats cycle for his 70th birthday has set his sights on a truly mountainous goal for his follow up - the Alps!

Patrick Balfour raised a phenomenal £5000 for SNAP - the Special Needs Action Project - in Inverness last year after doing the famous cycle journey to John O’Groats to mark his birthday.

But that journey is set to pale into comparison when judged against his follow-up after he decided to take on six mountain climb routes from the Tour de France in just six days - the same amount of vertical ascent as summiting one-and-a-half Mount Everests.

He will embark on his challenge on June 2 - and he’s again raising funds for SNAP Inverness and its work in the Highlands.

He explained that he was “overwhelmed” by the generosity shown by donors during last year’s event and was inspired by SNAP Inverness’ work to raise even more money for the charity.

“I am aiming to raise £1500 as my starting target. Having met the SNAP kids, staff and Dawn Walker, who heads up the charity, I know the cash makes a huge difference to all concerned,.”

Jokingly describing his Alpine challenge as “complete lunacy”, he continued: “As I write this, I'm asking that age-old question ‘what the hell am I thinking about!’

“However, I know what I am thinking about - I'm thinking that no matter how tough, how difficult, how sore I will get, how many times I will want to stop, it's never as tough as having to spend each and every day of your life in a wheelchair, or with special physical and emotional needs.”

Patrick Balfour at John O'Groats during his last fundraiser.
Patrick Balfour at John O'Groats during his last fundraiser.

Founded in 1996, today SNAP provides support for more than 140 children and young people. It works to improve the lives of people with additional needs through the likes of social experiences, building self-esteem, and helping to encourage their independence.

It also runs clubs and activities for people aged between five and 19, as well as additional services for those above 19 “who need the continuation of the friendships and activities at SNAP”.

Hailing Patrick’s generosity and continued support, SNAP Inverness said: “This past year has been a massive endeavour for SNAP to widen their catchment area from Inverness to the whole of Highland.

“Now more than ever fundraising is crucial to help us raise much needed funds to support more children, young people and their families across Highland with complex and additional support needs.

“We cannot thank Patrick enough for choosing to support us again this year. If you would like to support Patrick donations can be made on his JustGiving page. You can also follow Patrick’s adventure on Strava (PatrickNC500) and Instagram (patricknc500).”

To donate to Patrick’s fundraiser go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/patrick24cycle.

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