SAMS news room

Pedal-powered university tour to benefit charities

SAMS UHI welcomed a special guest when a rain-soaked Fiona Grant arrived in Dunstaffnage during a gruelling 773-mile sponsored cycle.

The West Highland College (UHI WHC) assistant principal has completed a tour of all 13 partner institutes within the University of the Highlands and Islands and on Friday, July 15 she arrived at SAMS UHI where she was welcomed by Prof Kenny Black (pictured).

Fiona, whose tour of the Highlands and Islands lasted two weeks and included eight ferry crossings, is raising money for two causes: the University of the Highlands and Islands scholarship fund and Lucky2BHere, a charity that provides defibrillators and emergency life support training across Scotland, whilst promoting healthy living and wellbeing.

On finishing her marathon effort, Fiona said: "I am happy to be home, but I will need time to reflect on everything I have gone through. I felt extremely connected to outdoors and even more aware of why I love living and working in the Highlands and Islands."

Fiona chose to support Lucky2BHere after her husband, Donnie, suffered a cardiac arrest during a cycle race in 2009. Fortunately for Donnie, the three cyclists behind him were a firefighter, a doctor and an anaesthetist and their skills saved his life.

“Defibrillators and trained members of the public within communities across Scotland make all the difference to saving lives,” said Fiona. “Not everyone is lucky to have trained professionals right next to you at the time of a heart emergency.

“Within the UK, coronary heart disease (CHD) is highest in Scotland and CHD death rates are very high in Scotland. There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) in the UK each year and the overall survival rate in the UK is less than 1 in 10. Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent.”

Fiona’s route was inspired by the West Highland Adventure Trail (WHAT), which was devised by Adventure Degree students around 10 WHC centres.

Starting and finishing on Skye, Fiona’s route included a trip to Moray College, Shetland College (pictured below) and Perth College, as well as partner institutes in Oban and on Lewis.

Prof Black, a senior marine ecologist at SAMS, said: “Congratulations to Fiona on an incredible achievement, given the elements thrown at her by the west Highland weather!

“She has demonstrated tremendous commitment to the university and the Lucky2Bhere charity and I was delighted to be the one to welcome her to SAMS UHI.”

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