After realising that the annual fundraiser he attended to raise money for sick children would be cancelled because of the pandemic, a retired plumber from Seamill decided to take matters into his own hands and raise the funds himself.

George Young, 72, has raised over £4,000 for the Children’s Hospice Across Scotland charity (CHAS) by completing a sponsored cycle ride around Arran.

George took the decision to close the family business, which was established by his grandfather in 1923, 18 months ago.

As a former board member of the Scottish and Northern Ireland’s Plumbing Employer’s Federation (SNIPEF), George would help raise around £2,000 at each of their fundraising dinners, but in the absence of one, he has managed to raise even more.

George told the Herald: “Obviously, with the pandemic, there has been no annual get together since 2019 and it occurred me that the charity must be under pressure from an absence of the funding it was used to.

“The idea of vulnerable children also suffering from the impact of Covid set me off on the idea of getting sponsored by lots of my old SNIPEF friends, colleagues and associates to make the 56-mile cycle round the beautiful Isle of Arran.

“I started and finished at Brodick and it was up and downhill most of the way. Not so easy when you have an artificial knee and a dodgy shoulder, but I managed it in just over five hours. My wife was my support team and was on standby in case I broke my bike or fell off. I am now counting our sponsorship money as it comes in. I’ve raised £4,170 including gift aid so far and the link will remain open until 30th September.”

He’s raised £4,170 in total so far and the link for donations is open until this Thursday.

Rachel Gedge, community fundraiser at CHAS, said: “We are so grateful to George. It’s a tough challenge. Everything George raises will make a difference to children and families across Scotland. The SNIPEF community has supported CHAS over many years, raising an incredible £26,000. We hope they are proud of what they have achieved for CHAS and will get behind George in this challenge. Thank you., thank you, thank you, to everyone who sponsors him!”

“Let’s hope”, concluded George, “that with COVID on the defensive, my SNIPEF friends and I can all get back together again next year where we can aim to raise yet more money for CHAS.”