By RYAN TAYLOR
A Sullom Voe fireman who took part in a cycling event to raise money for MS sufferers escaped a sabotage attempt after carpet tacks were laid down in the pathway of hundreds of cyclists.
Tom Jenkins was participating in the Etape Caledonia cycle run in Highland Perthshire, which turned into a calamity as cyclists fell from their saddles and suffered punctures brought about by sharp tacks left by protesters. They were angered by the disruption the event caused to a number of minor roads in the area.
The problem was highlighted by a number of lead cyclists who were the first to suffer punctures 43 miles into the route at Innerhadden and Schiehallion.
The keen cyclist managed to steer clear of disaster and finished the event, fortunately, without any mishaps – which was just as well, as Mr Jenkins had even cycled to the start line from Shetland to take part, and was relying on his bike to get him home again.
Despite the best efforts of saboteurs, Mr Jenkins – a member of the Shetland Wheelers club who cycles the seven miles to work from his home in Brae every day – has raised £1,000 for the Shetland MS Society after completing the gruelling trip.
It is hoped his employers at BP will also match the money raised, meaning a cheque for over £2,000 will be winging its way to the society once all the money is gathered in.
Mr Jenkins said he was most impressed by the generosity of his work colleagues, who helped him raise £1,000 in a week when the sponsorship forms were handed round.
He also thanked NorthLink for waiving the ferry fare and providing him with a cabin for the journey, and sports shop Intersport for providing him with energy bars for the trip.
Mr Jenkins, who has a friend with MS, started his adventure by cycling the road from Brae to Lerwick in time to catch the boat to Aberdeen.
On arriving there, he undertook the 97 mile journey to Pitlochry via Braemar, cycling up incredibly steep hills and enduring violent hail storms on the way.
Having stayed overnight in a youth hostel, he arrived for the start of the Etape event in time, but it was the disaster that unfolded that really took him by surprise. “It wasn’t good. I had to wait around while things were sorted out,” he said. “I was very lucky that I didn’t get a puncture, because there were a lot of people around me who were getting punctures and falling off their bikes.”
Meanwhile, Ellon couple George and June Johnson have started a charity walk in aid of the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal.
The couple, who moved to Aberdeenshire from their home in Shetland 10 years ago, are walking the West Highland Way, which will take them across 95 miles from Milngavie to Fort William over seven days.
Giving the trip an added challenge at the end of the week, however, will be a trek up Ben Nevis – Britain’s highest mountain at 1,344 metres.
Mrs Johnston said they had been inspired by how much support people in the isles had given the CLAN appeal.
“We have been following Shetland’s fund-raising efforts for CLAN in The Shetland Times and thought it would be appropriate for us to do our bit here as we are unable to support the fund raising efforts back home,” she said.
Anyone who would like to support the Johnsons can donate through the Justgiving page http://justgiving.com and search by name, or call and donate on (01651) 842831 or 07788 482788.
Finally, a Shetland man staying in Guernsey is preparing to take part in a “yomp” with the marine commando in aid of the Wessex Neurological Centre Trust.
Ian Smith, originally from Lerwick, will join work colleagues to run 30 miles across Dartmoor with the Royal Marines, carrying around 30lbs of kit on their backs in July.
The daring challenge is being held in aid of the Southampton-based Wessex Neurological Centre Trust, where Mr Hague-Holmes’ 13-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was admitted after being diagnosed with a brain tumour just before Christmas last year.
She spent eight days at the centre where the tumour, which fortunately proved to be benign, was successfully removed.
The competitors hope to raise £40,000 for Smile4Rich, the charity associated with the neurological centre, which provides funding for brain tumour and neurological research.
Further details can be found by logging on to www.justgiving.com/runforcharlotte.