PC cycles length of the UK to raise £7k for cancer charity

A POLICE officer who cycled from John o' Groats to Land's End for charity set off in blizzard conditions – and finished in bright summer sunshine.

Mounted police officer Tom Dunnigan, 38, raised 7,000 for charity, covering 920 miles in just ten days.

He decided to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support after losing his father to the disease. His sister and her husband are also currently battling cancer.

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But PC Dunnigan was so successful in his fundraising that, as well as making a donation to the cancer charity, he has donated 1,000 to St Columba's Hospice as part of the Evening News-backed Buy a Brick campaign. His father, Frank, died there 15 years ago after a five-year battle with lung cancer.

The appeal asks our readers to help the hospice raise funds for a major rebuilding campaign at its site in Granton. With 7 million still to raise, we are asking people to donate whatever they can to get the fundraising off to a strong start.

PC Dunnigan said the weather had made a tough sporting challenge even tougher: "I went through every season. I started off in blizzard conditions and when I reached Land's End, it was like a beautiful summer's evening. It was quite surreal.

"For the first two and a half days there was snow and gale-force winds. On the second day the roads were covered in about two inches of snow. It was blocking up the mudguards, and I had to keep on stopping to unblock them. It was really hard to go downhill, never mind uphill.

"It was certainly the hardest journey I've ever taken. I've run marathons, but this was something else. My brother was saying 'You don't have to do this', and I said to him that my sister's been on a worse journey in her fight against cancer, so a bit of snow wasn't going to stop me."

He used his 1,000 donation to St Columba's to buy a "virtual brick" in memory of his father at the hospice's campaign website, www.bluedove.org.uk.

He said: "My dad was at the hospice for about three weeks. The job they do is astounding. It's a real vocation to work there and to deal with families in the way that they do."

Hospice communications manager Isabelle Herlt said: "We are delighted that PC Tom Dunnigan has chosen to support St Columba's Hospice for his cycle across Britain, and we congratulate him for completing this extraordinary challenge."