CHARITY EFFORT: Skye Bridge to Kessock Bridge cycle tops £100,000 mark

Heather Bannerman and family before the cycle last month Pic Willie Urquhart

A huge fundraising cycling event organised by a Skye mum in aid of Highland children with additional needs has surpassed the £100,000 mark.

Bridge to Bridge 2023 challenged people to use pedal power to make the 77-mile journey from the Skye Bridge to the Kessock Bridge on Saturday 16th September.

Some 168 hardy souls completed the cycle, raising money through sponsorship.

This week Helen Bannerman from Portree, who organised the event with husband Kevin and Highland builder and businessman Willie Gray, revealed that the riders raised a remarkable total of £102,495.

Setting off from Kyleakin Pic Willie Urquhart

The money will go to the Elsie Normington Foundation’s Haven Centre in Inverness, and Dream, Believe, Achieve Highland, both charities which support youngsters with learning difficulties and additional needs.

Heather and Kevin’s teenage son Liam, who was born with cerebral palsy, has been receiving life-changing support from specialist physiotherapists funded by Dream, Believe, Achieve Highland for the past 10 years. 

The couple wanted other children to be helped and parents to be supported as much as they had, so they set themselves a cycle challenge to raise funds.

168 cyclists took part Pic Willie Urquhart

A Bridge to Bridge held in 2022 raised over £54,000, but this year’s event was a soaraway success.

Heather, who now lives in Culbokie on the Black Isle, said: “I could not believe it when the total just kept going up and up! It was quite overwhelming.

“To have had such a great day of weather for the cycle and to receive such super feedback from all the participants, and then to get the total over the £100k line was just amazing.

Cyclists in the shadow of the Skye bridge Pic Willie Urquhart

“We had 168 people taking part in the cycle and they all had their own online fundraising pages which was incredible. We also had a couple of very generous donations from local companies.”

One hundred per cent of the money raised will go to the two charities, to be split equally. 

It was an early start leaving Kyleakin Pic Willie Urquhart

It will mean that 51 children will receive private funding for a year from Dream, Believe, Achieve Highland for intensive physiotherapy from visiting specialists, while the newly-opened Haven Centre in Inverness will be able to complete the furnishing of two respite rooms and put them into immediate use for visiting Highland families.

Article by Jackie MacKenzie