Cyclists pedal across country in memory of baby who lived for 83 minutes

An incredible team of nine cyclists recently pedalled the length of the country in memory of a Hamilton baby who lived for just 83 minutes.

Little Freya Shields died shortly after birth in 2018 and her parents Dave and Kathleen have been very active in supporting CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association Scotland) and SiMBA (Simpsons Memory Box Appeal) following the support they received from both charities.

In 2019, Dave and six friends raised thousands of pounds cycling over 500km from Tongue at the northern tip of Scotland to Coldstream at the English border.

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This year, Hamilton man Brian Jack organised the same challenge on May 28 and Dave got back on the saddle to play his part.

Kathleen, David, Finn Shields with baby Freya
(Image: Hamilton Advertiser)

The other 2021 team members were Iain Brown, Jerry Mackie, Cameron Clark, Paddy Walsh (all Hamilton men), Joe Mitchell (originally from Motherwell, now living in East Kilbride), and Edinburgh men Sandy Legget and Simon Whitehead.

The team crossed the finish line with just 52 minutes to spare – and collectively the riders have raised almost £9400.

Dave told Lanarkshire Live: “It’s astonishing how much has been raised, and the money is still trickling in.

“I managed 425km before I got hypothermic – and ended up in the support van! But I had actually only planned on cycling a smaller section of the route to support the guys.

“They all did so well and were greeted by a crowd of around 30 people as they made it to the finish line in time.

“Afterwards I said, ‘I won’t be doing that again’, but I’m more than happy to put myself through more misery to help raise money for CHAS and SiMBA.”

The charity cycle, nicknamed ‘The Lang Way Doon’, saw the guys setting off from Tongue in Lairg at 10am on the Saturday.

They then made their way over the Cairngorms, onto Perth, making a brief stop at Rachel House hospice run by CHAS, and then finishing in the border town of Coldstream.

They completed the challenge successfully thanks to a support team comprising of Motherwell man John Ryan, William Kirk, from Wishaw, John McPartlin and Paul Seenan, from Hamilton, and Edinburgh men Paul Johnston and Graeme Vint.

The cyclists about to set of on their epic journey
(Image: Freelance)

Crew member Paul Seenan said: “We had three support vans with spare bikes, spare parts, and one van organising food stops.

“Seeing what the guys went through, cycling at night and through fog, it was absolutely incredible what they achieved.”

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Daily Record – Motherwell