Ninewells doctor to go the extra 100 miles after epic ride with Mark Beaumont
A doctor’s chance encounter with Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital has helped inspire him to raise funds for ARCHIE in Tayside.
Dr Tom Fardon’s youngest son benefited from the work of ARCHIE in the Granite City after a fall while out walking.
Now, the Ninewells consultant now hopes to raise vital funds for the charity by cycling 265 miles as part of ARCHIE & Mark’s Big Bike Ride.
The 42-year-old, from the Carse of Gowrie, will form part of a group of hardy riders joining world-record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont on an epic trip from Dundee to Inverness before finishing at RACH.
All the money raised by the event will go to help families with travel, food and accommodation costs while their child is treated in hospital.
Tom, a consultant respiratory physician, says he “experienced first-hand” the work of the charity after his 13-year-old son Josh suffered a bad break to his arm requiring surgery.
He explains: “In January, I learned just how much ARCHIE does to support Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital. While out mountain biking with my older son Dan, my wife Emma and Josh went for a walk up Scoltie Hill, up in Banchory.
“On the way down, Josh slipped on ice and broke his distal radius and ulna, requiring surgery to manipulate and wire the fracture.
“The nearest hospital was RACH, and ARCHIE’s presence was felt throughout the whole journey at RACH – from the front door of A&E to the ARCHIE Family Centre where we stayed overnight while Josh recuperated from his operation, and the ARCHIE-branded information leaflets handed out to us on discharge.”
Closer to home, Tom has had a long-standing relationship with the charity and has worked tirelessly to raise funds for ARCHIE’s Tayside £2m children’s theatre suite appeal.
Tom has raised thousands for the charity having completed a number of challenges, such as running the New York Marathon and ‘climbing’ to the International Space Station.
He explains: “I became involved in 2014, when my colleague Paul Fettes asked me if I’d be interested in a plan he’d cooked up to run up all of the mountains in Scotland over 1,000m, and cycle between them – the ARCHIE Mountain Challenge.
“I did my part in June 2015, running up nine ARCHIEs in three days, while fitting in about 120km of cycling between hills. To boost the fundraising efforts I organised a cycling hill climb event that year – climbing the hill through Abernyte, on the Carse of Gowrie, as many times as possible to reach the elevation of space.
“The event was very popular, and it has become an annual event for ARCHIE – one of the riders even managed to cycle the height of Everest on one hill in under 24 hours.”
The following year Tom was joined on his hill climb by Mark Beaumont, an ARCHIE patron, and the pair had discussed ways of raising yet more money for sick children.
Tom said: “As early as 2017, Mark was talking about a potential long bike ride, perhaps to join up the three children’s hospitals in the North of Scotland. I was always interested in doing it, and I’m excited to be part of it this year.”
As a fitness enthusiast, Tom is relishing the bike ride but is well aware of the challenges he and the rest of the riding team face with 20% inclines on some hills.
“The planned route to get from Ninewells to Raigmore is a tough day in the saddle taking in three of the highest, steepest, and most challenging climbs in the UK.
“The second day from Raigmore to RACH is slightly shorter, but has perhaps the most stunning scenery through which to climb – the Dufftown to Mossat road is not so well know, but a beautiful road to ride.”
Not content with cycling just the 265 miles, Tom has revealed he and some of his fellow Tayside-based participants are planning a third day of riding back to Dundee from Aberdeen to “complete the circuit”.
“It’s another iconic Scottish ride, over Cairn o’Mount from the North then back through Angus to Dundee,” he adds.
“Three days would make 365 miles, or thereabouts, and over 10,000m climbing.
“I hope we can each raise our sponsorship target, and support the fantastic work that ARCHIE is doing in the north of Scotland.”
To follow Tom’s progress or donate to his efforts, visit justgiving.com/archie-ride.