Driving up local charity funds

Masonic Lodge members Steve Ritchie and Bill Harra returned to Loanhead from their mammoth non-stop 1700 mile charity drive for local good causes. Photo by Gordon Bell.
Masonic Lodge members Steve Ritchie and Bill Harra returned to Loanhead from their mammoth non-stop 1700 mile charity drive for local good causes. Photo by Gordon Bell.

Loanhead masonic lodge members Steve Ritchie and Bill Harra embarked on their mammoth non-stop 1700 mile charity drive to Land’s End, John O’ Groats and back last week, raising £3500 for local charities.

Steve and Bill departed Loanhead at 5.30am last Wednesday morning to head south to Land’s End before returning north to John O’ Groats, which then saw them head back to Loanhead last Thursday afternoon.

Masonic Lodge members Steve Ritchie and Bill Harra returned to Loanhead from their mammoth non-stop 1700 mile charity drive for local good causes. Photo by Gordon Bell.

Masonic Lodge members Steve Ritchie and Bill Harra returned to Loanhead from their mammoth non-stop 1700 mile charity drive for local good causes. Photo by Gordon Bell.

Steve and Bill hatched the plan to raise money for four local charities: Sure Start; The Rock Trust; Special Olympics Lothians and the Roseberry Centre. Donations currently top £3500 with £4000 hoped for before the end of the month.

Steve said “I am really pleased with the huge range of people who reached-out to help with the event – both masonic and non-masonic.”

Motorcycle riders from Widow’s Sons Scotland met the pair in Inverkeithing to escort them back to Lodge St Leonard in Loanhead, where friends and family were waiting to celebrate their return.

Commenting on the highs and lows of the trip, the driving duo agreed arriving at John o’ Groats was an especially pleasing moment, but the constant battle against fatigue was definitely the low point.

The pair had hoped to catch some sleep in the passenger seat but this did not work as planned. Bill said: “We ended up trying to keep each other awake. It was actually good fun, but the tiredness at 4am was particularly challenging.”

Each driver took a turn at the wheel at every fuel stop, which was approximately every 250 miles.

The 45-year old car chosen for the drive belongs to Steve and the pair agreed it performed brilliantly.

A cracked headlight from a motorway stone chip was the only lasting memento, but the driver’s door window that fell open was quickly remedied by removing the inner door panel.

Steve added: “No special preparation was required before the journey as the 1973 car is in great shape overall.”

Steve and Bill are certainly open to another charity drive at some point, but both agree “maybe we’ll try a different route next time”.

To donate to Steven and Bill’s fundraising page click here.