Perth minister Graham Crawford gearing up for latest charity cycling challenge



At just 10 weeks old, Graham Crawford was left with partial paralysis on his right side following a car crash.

But he has not let that stop him from taking on epic cycling challenges to raise thousands of pounds for charity.

And Graham, who is the minister at Kinnoull Parish Church, is now gearing up for his latest test of endurance.

The determined 57 year-old has signed up to take on the Etape Loch Ness later this month – a popular cycle sportive offering the chance to tackle 66 miles on traffic-free roads.

He will be raising funds for Christian Aid, which is working through the ACT Alliance to help refugees fleeing the ongoing violence in Ukraine.

“Because I’ve got so much out of my cycling I think about how I can give back and how I can use it, not just for my own benefit, but for other people too,” Graham explained to the PA.

“Christian Aid has always been a charity close to my heart. It’s been great to raise a fair bit of money for them.”

Cycling has been a passion for Graham since his teenage years and, despite a couple of breaks from pushing the pedals, the enjoyment factor is greater than ever.

He reminisced: “Growing up I was always keen on sport but, because of partial paralysis of my right side, I was never very good.

“But I got my first speed racing bike when I was 15 and a couple of my pals were already into cycling.

“I went out with them to see if I was any good and we ended up doing 104 miles that day.

“I ended up starting a cycling club at Swansea University and then later got into charity rides.

“There were a couple for Christian Aid, including a 24-hour ride where I did 375 miles.

“I stopped for a while – I was busy – but got back into the charity rides when I lived over in North Carolina.

“I did the Breakaway to the Beach – a two-day ride from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach for a couple of years in a row.”

It was during COVID-19 lockdown when his love of hitting the road – and gathering cash for worthy causes – was ignited all over again.

“I really got into cycling during lockdown,” he said.

“But it became painfully obvious that 40 year-old technology on the bike was not going to cut it.

“I ordered a new one and, in May last year, I did some cycles to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.

“Then, last autumn, a friend said they were going to take on the Etape Loch Ness. I signed-up to do it for Christian Aid. That is particularly relevant, because they are doing a lot with refugees from Ukraine in partnership with churches.

“I’ve been doing a lot of training over the last year and have lost 22 pounds.”

Graham has already steered his fundraising total to £700 but that is expected to rise further in the coming weeks.

He is the chaplain at Jeanfield Swifts and bucket collections at recent home matches have helped bump the figure up.

“I’ve had a couple of collections at Jeanfield games and friends, family and the church have been very generous,” a grateful Graham said.

He will make his way to the Loch Ness start line on Sunday, April 24.

“Cycling has been tremendous for me,” Graham smiled. “I’ve done so much and I’ve always enjoyed it.

“It’s just been a tremendous outlook for me in sport, exercise and fitness.

“Okay, I’ll never be a Tour de France rider, but I’m now a decent club cyclist.

“That had never been an option with other sports.”

Graham’s fundraising page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/graham-crawford4




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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