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Inverurie dad to cycle 200 miles in memory of daughter after losing four loved ones to cancer

Grant Stirling is one of several inspiring north-east individuals whose fundraising efforts will be highlighted in this week's Charity Champions round-up.

Charity Champions
Grant Stirling, who is fundraising in memory of his daughter Mary, is one our Charity Champions this week. Image: Roddie Reid/DC Thomson.

Welcome to Charity Champions – our weekly-round up of some of the fantastic fundraising efforts taking place.

Every Saturday we’ll share stories of individual efforts and fundraising activities happening around the north and north-east.

This week, we’re shining the light on a loving dad gearing up to take on a gruelling cycling challenge in memory of his daughter, eight-year-old twins going the distance to support their cousin and an Aberdeen-based charity doing everything they can for children with severe disabilities.

Can you host a cycling team raising money for a great cause?

Aberdeenshire dad Grant Stirling is preparing to cycle more than 200 miles to raise funds in memory of his daughter Mary who died of cancer, aged 32.

The 53-year-old, from Inverurie, has been taking part in a number of charitable events to help good causes in her name ever since she lost her battle with the disease in 2021.

But Grant’s latest effort is his most ambitious yet – and he needs your help.

He will join four of his best friends to embark on a 220-mile journey across the country – from Inverurie to Dunoon – on July 11 to mark the anniversary of Mary’s death.

Grant and his daughter Mary on a trip to Aberdeen. Image: Supplied.

Despite having “zero road cycling experience”, Grant will brave the challenge to support the Cowal Hospice in Dunoon, where Mary lived, and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity has been a lifeline for his family during an “awful time”, providing care to his dad Campbell, brother Campbell and cousin David, who also died from cancer.

“I haven’t had it easy with my whole family but losing Mary was the biggest shock for me,” he said.

“Her passing was a very painful hit and I really wanted to do something in her memory to thank the hospice staff that I’m in debt to for looking after my family.

Mary Stirling was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Image: Supplied.

“It’s for her, but also for me. I needed a good challenge to clear my head, and bring myself up. I’m looking forward to the cycle and am determined to do my best.”

Grant, who is a supervisory janitor in Inverurie Academy, has launched a GoFundMe page to raise cash for the cause close to his heart – with nearly £3,000 already donated.

However, he has made a desperate plea for help to secure accommodation for the team in a bid to keep as much of the donated cash as possible in the pot for the charities.

Grant is asking for sponsor to provide roof above their heads for three nights in Montrose, Newburgh/Auchtermuchty and Falkirk/Bonnybridge.

Charity Champions
Grant will embark on a 220-mile cycle with his friends in July. Image: Supplied.

He said: “I am afraid that accommodation will take money away from the overall total, so if anyone with hostels, hotels, holiday rentals, rooms or lodges could help, that would really take pressure off our challenge.

“It’s going to be a big effort, but if anyone could either host the seven of us as a sponsor, or donate what they can through our GoFundMe page, that would mean the world.”

People can get in touch about providing accommodation at or 07786 861266. A map of Grant’s Big Ride is available here.

Aberdeen family’s big cycle to Paris

Daniel Miller, from Aberdeen, will be cycling from London to Paris in just 24 hours to fundraise for Duchenne UK.

Last weekend, his eight-year-old twin sons, Jonny and Willem Miller, took part in their own cycling challenge in support of the charity.

The duo cycled 40 miles from Dyce to Inverallochy, along the old railway lines, in support of their nine-year-old cousin, Jacobi Whyte.

Daniel Miller with his sons, Jonny (left) and Willem, and their cousin, Jacobi (centre). Image: Supplied by Daniel Miller.

The youngster was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder, in September 2017 and his family have organised a series of fundraisers to support the search for a cure in the years since.

For their cycling challenge, they have already raised more than £10,000 via their Just Giving page.

Charity funding for disabled children

The Aberdeen-based Gathimba Edwards Foundation’s Neil Jaffrey Initiative aims to provide specialist equipment and service support to children with disabilities in Scotland.

It currently has funding available to support children with severe disabilities and is reaching out to families to apply to receive a portion of this aid.

Tyler, who suffers from spina bifida, “thrived” after he was given special equipment. Image: Gathimba Edwards Foundation/Supplied.

Peterhead mum Caelsa Sim, whose son Tyler was diagnosed with spine bifida before he was even born, is encouraging families to submit their applications and get the much-needed help on offer.

She praised the charity for giving her now nine-year-old boy the chance to “thrive” by providing items inaccessible to them – a specialised bath seat, a custom-built bicycle and a motorised wheelchair.

Tyler was diagnosed with spina bifida when his mum Caelsa was 19 weeks pregnant. Image: Gathimba Edwards Foundation/Supplied.

The 31-year-old said: “The initiative has changed our lives in so many ways by allowing us to have access to equipment not available to him on the NHS.

“It has given Tyler a new found independence and allowed him to thrive in everything he does.”

If you are the parent, guardian or carer of a child who would benefit from support through the NJI ask for an application form at

Recognition for Aberdeen volunteers

Meanwhile, Aberdeen volunteers’ hard work and efforts have been recognised on national stage at this year’s Scottish Charity Awards.

Cfine has been shortlisted for Charity of the Year, while Garry Duthie from Camphill School has been nominated for Volunteer of the Year.

A Cfine foodbank - Charity Champions
Cfine volunteers run a mobile foodbank to help vulnerable families living in isolated locations. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson.

Winners will be announced on June 23 in a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Sally Magnusson at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh.

We’d love to include your event in a future Charity Champions – e-mail with the details.