Local guys up for a challenge

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Two local men are ‘wheely’ excited about taking part in Santander bank’s 250 mile cycle challenge this month to raise money for the NSPCC.

Geoff O’Brien (41) from Bearsden, a business development director with Santander, and Graham Silcock (49) from Milngavie, regional director for Scotland, are going to do the ‘Tour de NINES’ event.

The challenge - in its second phase this year having conquered Northern Ireland and North East England last year - will see the Santander team tackle a challenging route from Inverness to Aberdeen and on to Edinburgh in just 24 hours.

Geoff O’Brien has very personal reasons for wanting to play his part to improve the lives of local children and families.

He said: “NSPCC is a charity very close to my heart. As well as being a father myself now, I was brought up by my grandparents, so I understand the importance of the wider family unit and the support it can provide.

“My gran was a social worker in Glasgow and I often heard tragic stories involving children and their families, so charities like NSPCC Scotland are vital in giving kids the support they deserve”

He added: “I’ve taken up the challenge following a brief stint on the charity ride last year, where I completed my first 100 mile ride - something I never thought I could manage. The team spirit on the day is fantastic, as well as the ‘behind the scenes’ support that brings out the best in us all. I’ve been preparing by making trips around Peebles and the Campsie Hills, and also to the Chris Hoy velodrome with my son.”

Graham will be the support driver and he fully expects to ‘be the butt of all of the bad jokes’ and general dogsbody throughout the trip.

He said: “I’ve watched colleagues get involved in various charity initiatives and thought it was about time I did too.

“As a father of two beautiful children, I know that they are amongst the lucky ones who have a loving and caring home set-up. There are many who aren’t this fortunate and I’d be proud to support the good work NSPCC are doing to help them.”

The bank aims to raise £1 million through fundraising initiatives at Santander branches across the UK. The money raised will go to the ChildLine Schools Service, which aims to visit every primary school in the UK to talk to children about abuse and how to protect themselves.

To support the team, visit www.justgiving.com/tdn2 and make a donation.