‘Amazing’ Grace cycles 500 miles to help homeless

Simon and Grace 500 mile cycle for Shelter Scotland1A 14-year-old girl is cycling over 500 miles from Edinburgh to London to raise money to help homeless and badly housed people in Scotland.

Grace Stewart-Piercy, from Lanchester, will cycle for seven days with support from her dad Simon, from Shelter Scotland’s headquarters on Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, to the charity’s UK headquarters in London.

Grace is no stranger to raising money for the charity. When she was just nine she cycled coast to coast to raise £250, and the following year raised £1,100.

So far her donations to Shelter Scotland have been enough to help over 100 families and individuals through Shelter Scotland’s free national helpline.

This year she hopes to raise over £5,000 – enough to help transfer 20 families from a condemned property into a safe, secure home or provide 10 after school clubs for one month each, helping homeless and badly housed children to build their self-esteem.

Ahead of her departure from Edinburgh, where she was given a lively send-off by Shelter Scotland staff and volunteers, Grace said: “This will be the longest and hardest cycle ride I’ve ever done but I’m excited to hit the road, have fun and hopefully raise money for a very worthy cause.

“I can’t imagine how frightening it must be to lose your home and all of your belongings. I feel very fortunate to have a roof over my head and not have to worry about sleeping in a damp or cold house.

“For those who aren’t as lucky, it’s so important that organisations like Shelter Scotland are on hand to help. The one thing that will get me through this challenge is the thought of raising money for such a good cause.

“If the money I raise helps just one person it’ll be completely worth it.”

Simon, Grace’s dad, added: “On the one hand, as her dad I’m very proud of Grace and everything she’s achieved. On the other, as her riding partner, I’m quite nervous as her challenges are getting tougher year after year and sadly I’m not getting any younger.

“Grace has raised a lot of money for a very worthy cause when it would have been perfectly just as acceptable for her – as a teenager studying for exams – to put the brakes on and focus on herself.

“We can’t wait to get going. Every mile we cycle will be one closer to the finishing line but more importantly we’ll be closer to handing over a cheque to help Shelter Scotland give advice and support to those who urgently need it.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “I am in awe of Grace’s determination and generosity and humbled that year after year she chooses to raise money for Shelter Scotland.

“Donations like this go a long way and help us in our work to meaningfully tackle Scotland’s housing crisis for good. We wish Grace and her dad the best of luck as they embark on their adventure.

“We look forward to cheering them on throughout their journey and as they cross the finishing line.”


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