Loch Ness footballers cycle 5000 miles for cancer charity
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Eight players from Loch Ness Football Club have turned their attention from kicking a football to pedalling their cycles for charity.
The group has spent the past month aiming to notch up 5000 miles collectively for Macmillan Cancer Support which like many other charities has taken a big fundraising hit during the coronavirus pandemic.
As they approached the 4000-miles mark, they had raised almost £500.
The fundraising venture comes in an exciting year for the club which turned semi-professional and joined the Northern Caledonian League.
It has also been inundated with orders from across the globe for its strip – whose design includes Nessie – which starred on Match of the Day.
Player Martin Mainland (29) came up with the fundraising idea.
"We’ve all been getting into cycling a bit more over the past year, probably because of lockdown," he said.
"It’s difficult to train the way we would normally so at least this is keeping us all ticking over ahead of the season starting in May."
Mr Mainland said a few club members had been affected by cancer so choosing Macmillan was easy.
"They are such a huge support to so many people and we just wanted to give something back," he said.
Despite being a bit behind with the miles due to poor weather at the start, the team has quickly made up for lost time.
"When the legs are getting a bit sore, you just have to remind yourself it’s for a good cause, especially with the Scottish weather changing from snow, hail, wind, rain and sunshine every five minutes," Mr Mainland said.
Former player Martin Godwin (35), who leads Macmillan’s Move More programme for High Life Highland, has first-hand experience of the charity.
"I was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy," he said.
"It was a very stressful time for me and my family but we felt well supported by Macmillan throughout.
"Their information helped me to prepare for what was to come and the online forums allowed me to interact with others with a similar experience, so I found these particularly useful."
Shirlie Geddes, senior relationship fundraising manager in the North of Scotland, thanked the players for their support.
"It’s been a difficult year for a lot of charities but at Macmillan our number one priority is to do whatever it takes to support people with cancer in every way we can," she said.
The team has set up an online fundraising page at: www.gofundme.shanesfundforMacmillanCancerSupport
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