Charity Run from West Lothian to Hochsauerlandkreis

by Astrid Schürmann / Sue Cook

In May 2011, five cyclists from West Lothian cycled from Livingston in West Lothian to Meschede in Germany. The cyclists were all ordinary people from very different walks of life: former Chief Executive of West Lothian Council Alex Linkston, Frank Anderson, a local politician, David Brice, who owns the Cupcake Cafe bar – a well­known cafe and school which teaches cake decorating – with the very well­known local celebrity Paul Bradford. Then Adrian Brady, Director of a multi million pound recruitment company, Sue Cook, local Justice of Peace and Ann Margaret Watson who works in the offce of the local Minister of Scottish Parliament. And a very important part of our team was Gordon Connolly who drove the van and our luggage!

We wanted to take the trip of 700 km to the town which West Lothian is twinned with. Our journey started in Livingston and it took us one week to arrive in Meschede. We cycled from Livingston to Newcastle where we took the ferry to Ijmuiden in Amsterdam. After Amsterdam we went to Arnhem, Xanten, Duisburg, Dortmund, Hamm and fnally Meschede. From Duisburg we followed the path of the Ruhrtal­Radweg along the Ruhr and we loved this route. One of the days when going from Xanten to Duisburg, we got lost and a wonderful German cyclist called Alfe cycled with us and took us a much longer, but very scenic route to Duisburg! The German cyclists were all so friendly and made our trip very memorable.

In Fröndenberg, we were welcomed by Wolfgang Meier, a member of the HSK District Administration who joined us for the last part of the way. And Erhard Schäfer, the head of the West Lothian­Hochsauerlandkreis partnership union insisted on joining the group for some part of the way, too.After arriving at the Kreishaus and full of excitement about the Ruhrtalradweg, we decided to continue the Charity Run the following day in order to master its last stage to Winter­berg. And on the way to Winterberg, Wolfgang Meier accompanied us one more time.

On Saturday evening, back from Winterberg, we were cordially welcomed by the Vice District Administrator Dr Michael Schult with a small reception. And on Sunday afternoon, after a short Möhnesee trip, we left for Scotland again.

We were raising money for 4 charities. The first two are national charities and are part of Prince Charles charities that he supports: Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust which gives money to young people aged 18­25 to help them start their own business and Princes Trust which helps young disadvantaged people. The two local charities were River Kids, a charity for children in West Lothian and Open Doors which helps homeless people. Most schools in West Lothian were also involved in the fundraising and they were able to follow us live by using our website and seeing exactly where we were using Google Earth.