From Russia with love ...
Charity cycle raises cash for school
A grandad dodged a mix-up with Russian border guards on his way to completing a 450mile sponsored cycle across four countries.
James Smith got on his bike for the nine-day trek with friends Bob Clark, Frank Gillies, Alan Brady, James McLeod, Rab Strachan and Charlie Garvey, which began in Frombork, Poland and went through Kaliningrad in Russia, into Lithuania before finishing in the Latvian capital Riga.
James, who runs Ernie’s Fish and Chicken Bar in Shotts, completed the mammoth cycle and raised an incredible £9150 in the process.
All the cash is going Orchard Primary Language and Communication Support Centre (LCSC) Support Group which hua autistic grandson Kyle, 9, attends.
James and the family were at the school this week to hand over the cash that will be used to provide the children with a suitable outdoor play area.
The 60-year-old said: “For the most part everything went very well but there were a couple of hiccups along the way.
“We were waiting a while at the Russian border but it wasn’t their fault as they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Russian.
“One of the guys suggested I get a picture with one of the guards but after 20 minutes I decided there was no chance of that. We were there for an hour before they let us through!
“There were four of us who completed all 450 miles but for the most part the terrain was quite flat and we only needed our waterproofs one morning.
“When we finished in Riga we had a couple of days to unwind. We had a couple of friends who came out to see us and we had a great time.”
Although James and his friends cycle across Europe on an annual basis, the fact he was fundraising for his grandson gave him an extra incentive to finish all 450 miles.
He added: “It definitely spurred me on and was a big boost for me. The support we have had has been great and to bank that amount is tremendous.”
Cheque this James Smith hands over cheque for more than £9000 to Orchard Primary School