Big ride in memory of wife raises thousands for charity

David Hay
David Hay
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A Scot has raised around £40,000 after cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in less than a week in memory of his wife who died of cancer.

David Hay had to battle through strong winds and driving rain as storms battered the country.

David Hay with wife Janie

David Hay with wife Janie

The cash he has raised in memory of wife Janie, who died just days after her 39th birthday - will be split between six cancer charities.

The 38-year-old, originally from Conon Bridge, in the Highlands, but now living in Glasgow, said: “The challenge was borne out of all the help Janie got after she was diagnosed with cancer.

“We talked about it together when she was alive as people had done so much for us.

“We wanted to put something back for the help, and maybe inspire other to do something for charity.”

Mr Hay added: “When Janie was ill I would often get on my bike to clear my head. I used to go out on my bike before visiting her, so it seem obvious to link the two together.

“I decided to begin on Christmas Day to make it a bit different, but also to remember that on that day people like Janie are still ill.

“It is a difficult time of the year to be alone and that was the idea behind the challenge.

“Christmas is seen as a milestone for many cancer sufferers yet it is also hard because many people are too ill to celebrate or they can’t join in as they want to because they can’t eat certain foods.

“For carers, too, the festive season is doubly hard. So, if my bike ride is hard, it is not as tough as for those with cancer.”

He was being supported by his friend Richard Littlefield, also of Glasgow, who drove a campervan. Overnights were spent in the van.

He made huge progress in the first four days, and hit Scotland when Storm Frank appeared.

Mr Hay said: “It was not particularly pleasant. There was wind, snow and sleet, especially at Drumochter.

“But the idea was that it was not meant to be easy, it was to be a challenge, like it is for people with cancer.

“The support I received on the way was amazing and the amount of money raised has been phenomenal.

“But the challenge was not just about raising money for good causes but also raising awareness.”

READ MORE: Cancer victim organises Band Aid of the Highlands

Mr Hay met Janie in 1999 after moving to Glasgow to go to university.

They got married in 2006 but in in April 2010 Janie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Over the next three years, she endured several operations and numerous chemotherapy treatments.

Sadly, Janie died just seven days after her 39th birthday,

Dave said: “Janie put up an incredible fight and was supported throughout her illness by a number of cancer centres and charities. In her memory and to say thanks I am raising funds for Beatson Cancer Charity, Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Maggie’s and Macmillan.”