Dougie’s gearing up for charity cycle challenge

Charity cyclist Dougie Welsh
Charity cyclist Dougie Welsh

A HAWICK cricketer is swapping his bat for a bicycle as he prepares to join a charity challenge from John O’ Groats to Galashiels – although the Teri has vowed to continue on and finish in his home town.

Forty-nine year old Dougie Welsh is taking part in the mammoth run next month as part of a group of cricketing friends from Galashiels, who are pedalling in aid of the Rowan Boland Memorial Trust – set up following the tragic death of the nine-year boy who died at Gala Cricket Club last April.

Rowan was a keen cricketer and even at his young age a prominent member of the youth team and club as a whole, and he would frequently accompany his dad Dave Boland to games with Gala’s 1st XI against Hawick at Buccleuch Park.

Dougie, a stalwart of Hawick and Wilton Cricket Club, explained: “It was during a sports conference that I was chatting to the Gala boys I know well through the cricket and they asked me if I’d be up for a charity bike run, and without knowing the route or distance, I agreed to sign up. I’ve done a bit of cycling in the past but nothing like this, but once I found out I was determined to give it a go as it’s something I’ll never do again.”

This marked the start of Dougie’s training regime, purchasing a bike, and starting to clock the miles up.

He went on: “As part of my training I’ve been managing an 86-mile route to Tushielaw, Langholm, Carlisle and onto the Copshaw road, and I feel absolutely great, really fit.”

And Dougie, a gas servicing engineer with Saltire, will be able to put his new-found fitness to the test when he takes part in the locally-organised Ken Laidlaw Sportif next Sunday, which has attracted the maximum amount of 500 riders.

He added: “I’ve never done anything like that before but it will be a great experience and training before we head to John O’ Groats.”

That run is taking place between September 4-10, raising money for the trust to provide financial grants to young sports people who show potential and would otherwise not be able to progress. But with the majority of cyclists taking part from Galashiels and the challenge ending there on the sixth day, Dougie asserted: “I can’t have it that I stopped in Galashiels, so I’ve decided that after a reception on the Saturday night, I will cycle back to Hawick on the Sunday morning to complete my challenge.”

Organiser and fellow cyclist Stevie Halls told the Hawick News: “Whilst there has always been friendly rivalry between Hawick and Gala, the trust has had great support from Hawick townspeople and, in particular, the members and players at Hawick and Wilton Cricket Club where Dougie is a prominent figure.”

Dougie has received sponsorship for five nights’ accommodation from Eddie Brogan, while Julian Crum at Border Cycles in the Howegate has agreed to sponsor the ride and also provided valuable information and equipment.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Dougie can do so via a form at Plumb Trade Supplies, or by contacting him on r_dougie@yahoo.co.uk