A COUNCILLOR has jumped on his bike and conquered a gruelling 207 mile journey to raise vital funds for charity, writes Jack Thomson

James MacLaren, an elected member for Bishopton and Bridge of Weir, cycled from Kilmacolm to Newcastle in a mammoth 20 hour ride. 

The leader of the Conservative group on Renfrewshire Council completed the task in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer and the Haven Kilmacolm.

Some of the funds will also go towards resurfacing Freeland Church car park, which is used by the community in James’ home village of Bridge of Weir. 

“This was a tough but hugely rewarding challenge,” James said. “It went surprisingly well given the wind and rain that was against us all day.”

The group, which included James and some pals, set off just after 4am on Saturday, June 15, and made it to the Assembly Halls in Newcastle just before midnight. 

James added: “I felt good through most of it. It was about 20 hours but we had a few breaks during the day when we stopped for breakfast or lunch. 

“I’m quite a keen cyclist. Last year they cycled from the bridge in Newcastle to the Forth Bridge, which I joined for about 80 miles, so this time I decided to join them for a bit more. 

“After a period of time you get into a rhythm and just keep going. 

“This is only the second year of doing something like this. Last year they fund-raised, and hopefully next year there will be something else.”

Once they had gotten to the end of the trip, James was surprised to see he still had some energy to take part in a dancer or two.

He said: “We arrived at the Assembly Halls and there was a ball being held in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer.

“We were welcomed with open arms. They gave us a drink and I even got up on the dance floor for a few dances. 

“I was delighted to be able to raise funds for local and national causes and thank everyone who support myself and my other riders along the way. 

“I’ve raised about £700 thanks to donations from Freeland Church. The money will go towards Target Ovarian Cancer, the Haven Kilmacolm, and to resurfacing Freeland Church car park, which is used by the public in Bridge of Weir.

“My fundraising pages are still open and I would be grateful for any donations received.”

To donate to Target Ovarian Cancer, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/cllrmaclarentoc or to donate to the Haven Kilmacolm, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/cllrjmaclaren1

If you wish to donate to the Freeland Church car park, please contact James directly. 

His details can be found on the Renfrewshire Council website here

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