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Fortrose teenager and Inverness Harrier chosen for financial grant to help athletics career

By Will Clark

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Fortrose runner Lucas Cairns is one of 22 Scottish athletes who has received funding from the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund.

Lucas Cairns. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Lucas Cairns. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The 16-year-old, who competes for Inverness Harriers, was among 196 British athletes who have been backed by the programme and will receive a share of £30,000.

His fellow Inverness Harriers’ athlete Megan Keith was also chosen to receive a share of the funding and the only two from the Highlands.

Applications for the RPMF grants were open to those aged 15 to 23, with 2021 marking the 30th anniversary of the charity, following the death of Ron Pickering in February 1991.

Since that time, the programme has awarded grants totalling more than £2million with a swathe of Great Britain and Northern Irelandinternational athletes and global medallists having been helped in their formative years in athletics.

In a statement, the RPMF said it was pleased it could continue to support athletes during the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

“In 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic on our fundraising activities, we were not only concerned we would not be able to support any athletes in 2021, but for its very survival.

“It was only because of the incredible efforts of our “Ronners” that were due to run in the 2020 London Marathon, but instead chose to take part in various virtual running events and continue to raise money for us during the Pandemic, that we are able to offer any grants this year.

“While we have had to reduce the total amount of the grants awarded this year compared to recent years, and the individual levels of the grants awarded, due to the reduced funds available to us, we are pleased that we were still able to help as many athletes as we did.

“In what proved to be a difficult year for all athletes, we knew that we would have a great demand for support from RPMF and we received over 450 applications during October and November of 2020.

“Without a normal competition season to judge our selections on, and with all athletes impacted by the lockdown and lack of access to facilities for virtually every athlete, the selection process was made much more complicated than usual.

“We are thankful that the grants committee were able to go through all the applications.”

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