An offshore worker and ex-footballer has set himself the biggest challenge of his life to raise money for the north-east charity that helped look after his mum before she died from cancer.
Sam Milton, who currently lives in Rosemount but comes from Burghead near Elgin, will set off from Inverness on August 1 for a monumental cycle that will take him the full length of the North Coast 500.
His effort is all to raise money for Friends of Anchor, the charity which supports the oncology and haemotology unit at Aberdeen’s Foresterhill Health Campus where his mum received treatment before she passed away in March.
He said: “My mum and dad were back in Burghead, so it meant that they were back and forth to Aberdeen weekly for the best part of 18 months.
“She spent a lot of time in the Anchor Unit, and she always spoke quite highly of the volunteers and services they provided.
“They just try to make it as painless an experience as possible for people and there was always the support there.”
Sam, 33, played Highland League football for Lossiemouth FC over five years, but it fell by the wayside when he moved to Aberdeen to work offshore as a production technician.
To fill the gap, he took up running, then moved on to triathlon – but after all the competitions he was looking forward to were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he decided to put his training to good use with a fundraising challenge.
He said: “I felt it was a good opportunity to give something back.
“My mum and dad just completed the last leg of the NC500 last October, obviously at that point her health was starting to deteriorate.
“It was nice for them to finish the North Coast 500 together, and for that reason it’s always going to hold a special place in my dad’s heart.
“I’ve never done it, I just thought it would be a fitting tribute to my mum and a chance to give something back to a charity that helped support her throughout her journey.”
It will certainly challenge Sam: aside from the 500 miles of distance, he will need to tackle around 37,000 feet of climbing – including the Bealach Mor, the biggest road climb in the UK.
He said: “From a personal point of view as well, it’ll be a good test for me.
“I think so far this year I’ve cycled 6,000 miles, so it’s a chance to capitalise on all the hard training I’ve done to date, since I won’t have a chance to compete this year due to restrictions.”
Already, Sam has raised over £4,000 for Friends of Anchor.
To support Sam on his cycle, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SamMilton