Gordonstoun student helps Huntly man's Loch Ness Etape goal
A man with the most severe level of quadriplegia is preparing to cycle the 66 miles of the Loch Ness Etape at the end of April.
David Henderson, sustained serious spinal injuries while trampolining almost 13 years ago but now is set to return to cycling.
David (46) has been helped to realise his ambition by Huntly teenager Stuart Liston who secured £3000 towards a special tandem cycle for the run.
Stuart, a pupil at Gordonstoun, made a pitch for the Give them a Sporting Chance charity cash in the school's Youth and Philanthropy competition.
The bid was not successful but Stuart (17) did not give up and went to the charity to tell them about David and his dream to get back on a cycle.
Stuart said: "The charity were impressed by what David wanted to do and how I wanted to help him but the donation far exceeded my expectations. It's amazing and I am just so pleased to have been able to help David, he's an inspirational character. I am looking forward to getting out on the bike with him and maybe even do a bit of the Etape."
The idea for a specially adapted tandem bike came from a Glasgow based, university friend of David's, Andy McCulloch.
To date, £5000 has been raised to modify a second hand bike.
David explained: "A new bike would cost £4500 but Andy is adapting a second hand bike and we will use the cash saved to fit electrics. It would be quite tough for whoever is in the saddle to pedal me round without electric back up."
The bike will have a full wheelchair seat welded onto the front to provide David with the support he requires.
In test runs, David has been fastened into a temporary seat with a variety of bungee cords but the finished article will have a full safety harness.
The project cost includes a hoist to help David get onto the seat more readily.
Test runs have seen David and Andy hit the streets through Bearsden and the south side of Glasgow which he said was exhilarating.
He said: "It was a great sense of freedom and amazing to be out in the fresh air. Sitting right out in the front takes a bit of getting used to and you have to trust in the person pedalling.
"I always liked speed and adrenalin sports. Cycling gives me a different view of the countryside. The £3000 from Stuart has made it possible, it took a huge amount of effort to reach £2000."
David plans that patients at the spinal unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow, where he was treated, will be able to use the bike and he and Andy are looking for a trailer for the tandem to be taken up and down the road.
David and his Etape team are raising money for Macmillan Cancer Supprtand the spinal research team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
To support him go online to www.gofundme.com/f/2020-etape-loch-ness.