Alan’s back in the driving seat to help Teenage Cancer Trust

Alan Biggar in his Morgan at Kinneil Estate
Alan Biggar in his Morgan at Kinneil Estate

Bo’ness Hill Climb member Alan Biggar recently drove his vintage Morgan to remote areas of Scotland to help raise cash for the charity Teenage Cancer Trust.

Alan and his team of co-drivers set off from Bridge of Allan on May 14.

The team drove 1812 miles around the country – with various stops along the way.

Their incredible journey saw them take12 ferry trips before finally reaching the finish line back home at Kinneil Estate on Friday, 
May 26.

A past chairman of the Morgan Sports Car Club (Scotland), Alan has been the Scottish patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) charity since 2008.

He initially got involved after a business colleague lost her daughter, Zoe, following a three year battle with cancer just days before her 18th birthday in 2007.

At that time the charity had a presence in the west but nothing in the east of Scotland.

A temporary unit for younger teenagers (13 to 16 year-olds) has since opened at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh in 2009, while in 2013 the new Teenage and young adult cancer unit (16 to 24 year-olds) opened at the Western General Hospital.

In the west, a new unit for younger teenagers at The Royal Hospital for Children replaced Yorkhill in 2015.

And the TCT unit for 16 to 24 year-olds at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre has also been refurbished.

After Zoe’s death, Alan decided to organise a fundraising drive for Zoe in 2008.

He visited all 39 offices of the investment management business Brewin Dolphin, of which he headed the company’s Edinburgh office.

He travelled across the UK and the Channel Islands over the course of two weeks in his Morgan, covering 2800 miles on that trip.

Then in 2011, he got back in his car again, this time to raise funds for Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids Drive for TCT, driving his car around all the Bauer Media radio stations in the UK and notching up another 2200 miles.

In 2013, Alan was back on the road again, taking part in the Drive for TCT which set about visiting the Six Nations rugby grounds travelling to the Home Nations plus Italy and France, a distance of some 3600 miles.

Prior to his latest fundraiser, Alan had raised in excess of £350,000 for the charity through his drives, charity dinners, auctions and donations.

Regarding this latest adventure, Alan said: “The total distance covered by the 2008, 2011 and 2013 Drives was 8600 miles and people had suggested this figure should be 10,000 miles, a nice round figure.

“This latest trip took us well over the mileage target, 10,412 miles, and it has raised additional funds for TCT in Scotland.

“Hopefully, it will also have helped to raise the charity’s profile even more.”

Alan admitted the drive, which followed the east coast route before taking in Orkney, Shetland, Stornoway, Harris and then down the west coast to Stranraer, had its mishaps.

His prized 60 year-old car broke down twice and also blew a tyre.

But temporary repairs were made en route to allow him to continue his amazing journey.

The keen vintage car enthusiast – who took part in the inaugural Bo’ness Hill Climb in 2008 and again in 2009 – has, however, not set a date for any future charity drives, although it’s still early days.

But he did reveal that this latest fundraiser had so far raised more than £20,000 for the work that TCT does in Scotland.

He said: “It is hugely important and it’s so upsetting to me that only one in every two young people with cancer is able to be reached through the TCT units.

“This is what makes the charity’s new outreach care nursing and support service so important.

‘‘Throughout the drive, we visited some of the most remote places in the country.

“However, these are all areas that TCT is dedicated to reaching to help young people with cancer.”

Christine Jason, head of fundraising (North) of TCT, said: “Alan is such a passionate champion of TCT in Scotland and has been absolutely integral to our work in the country.

“Since his first drive in 2008, Alan and the Scottish community have shown such amazing, continued support for young people with cancer and we are hugely grateful.”

You can donate cash for TCT at www.justgiving.com/DriveScotland4TCT.