Tragedy inspires trio to clock up miles for funds
THREE amateur cyclists, inspired by the tragic loss of a Lochaber man, have taken on the challenge of cycling from Ballachulish to Ballygunner in Ireland.
Orla Purcell, Andrew Gault and Lara Gray will ride 400 miles in four days starting on Wednesday July 5 in memory of Orla’s late fiancé Richy Crossland.
Richy was a fit and healthy 32-year- old non-smoker when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer while travelling through New Zealand on a year out in 2011. After a short, aggressive six month fight, he lost his battle with the illness.
Orla told the Lochaber Times: ‘While Richy would maybe (definitely) have thought we were mad to under take this cycle, I know he would be proud and that he will remain with us for each pedal, each push and each hill along the way.’
Since Richy died, Orla has returned to her native Ireland but she and Richy’s mum, Cona MacNicol, who has lived in Ballachulish all her life, have stayed close.
Cona told the Lochaber Times she is full of support for Orla. She added: ‘Richy was such a great son and this happened so suddenly to him and poor Orla. They were travelling through Asia and were heading off to New Zealand when he was diagnosed.
‘They were heading for such an adventure and were in their prime.
‘I am very, very lucky that Orla has stayed in our lives. Andrew is her new boyfriend and I think it is lovely they are doing the cycle together. He is very nice – very different from Richy – but very nice and I am so happy for her.
‘This is going to be a terrific challenge for them but they have been training very hard. They are supporting really worthwhile charities and I hope they have a wonderful time doing it.’
Throughout the challenge, the team will raise money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and Waterford Hospice.
Orla explained: ‘The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is the only UK charity solely dedicated to defeating lung cancer. It provides invaluable support, education and help for lung cancer patients and their family, and funds essential research into a cure.
‘ We will also be raising money for the Waterford Hospice which is a not-for-profit organisation providing palliative care and support for people living in the south east of Ireland.’
To support Orla, Lara and Andrew visit www.survivetheride. net
Richy Crossland was travelling with fiancée Orla Purcell when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011.