Uist cyclists raise over £3,500 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK

A group of amateur cyclists from South Uist have raised over £3,500 for charity through a cross-island cycle challenge.

Raising money for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, nine friends set out to pedal from Eriskay to Lochmaddy on Saturday 19th October.

Weather conditions on the day were not particularly favourable, with the early morning especially marked by heavy rain and fairly strong winds.

Nonetheless, the group completed the 49-mile journey in under four hours, earning several thousand pounds worth of donations and sponsorships collected prior to the trek.

The money raised will be donated to the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

One of the cyclists, Paul MacPhee, explained how the challenge came about, and the very personal connection with the chosen charity for everyone involved. He said: “It was talked about before, between my own family and (fellow cyclist) Norman John MacIsaac’s family.

“We decided to do a cycle and to begin it was only meant to be two or three of us. But then more joined us from families who are also affected by Crohn’s and Colitis, or people who were friends with sufferers.

“My own sister, she’s been affected by Crohn’s and Colitis for the last two years. She’s been in and out of hospital four or five times in that period. And Norman John himself, he was affected about two years ago. So that’s why we decided to do it. It’s a very worthy cause.”

Money was raised through sponsor sheets distributed locally and individual pages on the fundraising website JustGiving. At present, the total stands at £3,525. However, sponsorships and donations are still being collected.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease. With both conditions, parts of the digestive system, from the mouth to the intestines, become sore and inflamed. Symptoms vary from person to person and usually over time.

Anyone can develop either Crohn’s or colitis. Up to 620,000 people in the UK are affected, with up to 18,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

The cause of both Crohn’s and colitis is unknown and there is no cure for either. Crohn’s and Colitis UK provides support for sufferers and their families.

The cyclists taking part were  Norman John MacIsaac, Doreen Steele, Paul MacPhee, Danny Steele, Andrew MacIsaac, Neil MacPhee, Ruaraidh Steele, Kathleen Alexander and Mairi Johnston. The group are pictured just before setting off from Eriskay.