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Man, 73, to cycle across US with aim of raising £100,000 for charity

George Russell is getting on his bike and travelling 3,000 miles from California to Florida in aid of the National Trust for Scotland.

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George Russell, 73, will be pedalling from California to Florida (NTS/PA)

George Russell, 73, will be pedalling from California to Florida (NTS/PA)

George Russell, 73, will be pedalling from California to Florida (NTS/PA)

A 73-year-old man is planning to cycle coast-to-coast across the US to raise funds for conservation in Scotland.

George Russell aims to raise £100,000 for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) by pedalling more than 3,000 miles from San Diego in California to St Augustine in Florida.

The conservation charity has been hit by the impact of coronavirus this year and is running a major fundraising campaign – Save Our Scotland – to help it recover from this crisis.

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George Russell’s grandad helped to secure Glencoe for the trust (NTS)

George Russell’s grandad helped to secure Glencoe for the trust (NTS)

George Russell’s grandad helped to secure Glencoe for the trust (NTS)

Mr Russell, originally from Edinburgh but now based in Colorado, has familial links to the charity – including his grandfather Arthur Russell, who was the charity’s first secretary and treasurer.

He said: “The trust cares for quite staggering collections of Scotland’s treasures but it urgently needs colossal sums to guarantee its survival.

“It is as serious as that. It is vital that somehow as much as possible of its lost income is replaced as matter of urgency.

“That can only be done by the support of donors worldwide and that is why I am getting on my bike to pedal to protect Scotland’s heritage.”

His dedication to our charity and all we do to protect what’s special about Scotland is so appreciated at this difficult timeAli Macleod, NTS

Mr Russell will be riding solo while his wife Mary will be driving their car as a support vehicle for the first half of the trip.

It is expected to take around 50 days, depending on weather conditions, starting at the Pacific Ocean on August 27.

He will travel from San Diego through California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to St Augustine, on the Atlantic coast.

Ali Macleod, NTS head of fundraising,  said: “We are overwhelmed at this incredible support from George.

“His dedication to our charity and all we do to protect what’s special about Scotland is so appreciated at this difficult time.

“As George travels across the USA, he’ll be thinking of Glencoe, the property and iconic Scottish location his grandfather helped the trust secure in the 1930s, and knowing that every pedal stroke helps the trust protect this and other special places, now and for the future.”

PA