Cycle to Syracuse – Day 6 – visit a family , Police Escort tears, memories , joy and celebration. Paying respect and a journey completed,

Day 6

This last day started from a family house we left from yesterday. They had lost a loved one and it was an emotional start in the rain.

“I felt so privileged and blessed to meet these amazing lads this morning! As of this afternoon, these cyclist have completed their journey from Lockerbie to Syracuse University. Cycling in Scotland, then by air to Washington, DC…. then cycling up to Syracuse. In memory of all our loved ones who perished in Lockerbie 30 yrs ago. The “Cycle to Syracuse” team compleded the trip they never finished 💜❣️ ‘s math a rinn thu Lads (Well Done Lads… in Scottish Gaelic) xx”

It was a special send off in a wet morning So like Scotland . There were a few folk with us who cycled. I sadly traveled with the Police escort my chest infection is pretty rough and there is no way I could have kept up the pace. Miles our mechanic had planned that I do this and my host was D. Demand. He was on duty when a plan hit the Pentagon on 9/11. We spoke all the way he was such a guy. He had planned the route sorted out the traffic with his other Police cars. 30 years ago I had blue light all the way from my house to Lockerbie. The rain poured down all day on the stops we were greeted by so many other Police and firemen. They knew of our story and wanted to thank us for what we did.

I got on the bike for the last few Miles then we had a break near Syracuse University. The team was soaked but happy BBC met us and did a live interview with Colin then we cycled up into the campus and walked up to the ceremony with our Scottish Power pipers in front playing. It was so moving and I felt like Edinburgh full of emotion as the crowds gathered the music played we were here.

The media was in force and we had a ceremony with speeches. The boys were wet but then the media grabbed us. I sneaked off to the memorial. No one was there it is stunning. I had quite time there and thought of the journey the families the victims and the hope for the future.

I thought of the names of all the lives lost and my colleagues who tried so hard in Search and Rescue in 1988. Few of the Mountain Rescue Teams helicopter crews dog handlers , or military will visit here. I cried for a while then sat and was met by some of the families who had followed me up. I was hugged and cuddled by those souls and I felt a peace.

It was then back to the media and a few interviews which I admit I was upset in. I thought of the days we were there the great love from the Lockerbie folk who despite there losses looked after my troops and so many others. It was a hard time. It was not sound bites but what I felt and spoke as my thoughts came .

The team on the cycle were brilliant we had huge man hugs at the end and I will never forget them.

It was then a shower we were frozen and wet and a meal at night where I met a couple of the Lockerbie ladies who had been invited along. For years they had never spoke of what they did. The washing of clothes so the families could collect what was found at Lockerbie and the kindness to many of the emergency folk who arrived in that dark night in 1988.

I spoke to one for 30 min she was one of those who looked after us and who adopted two of the fallen girls on that awful night. For 30 years she had as many in the town had done so much for the families when they came after and during the tragedy. We spoke as only those “who have seen things can “ She saw I was upset and out came the Lockerbie hug and warmth. This for me was the thing I came for.

The room was busy lots of important folk there and few saw it. This was what it was about to me. Memories flooded back but there was warmth in the room families I met were now friends and I felt a huge warmth. They were watching and caring.

My body is battered and I see a doctor tomorrow the ladies have ensured I go and I will get some medication today.

I managed a dram before I went to bed and we have a ceremony tomorrow with the families at the memorial.

What a day yet so much hope for the future we are so privileged to be here and what a team of support and cyclists we have.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

We have plenty to do tomorrow with the ceremony and meeting more families.

Dedicated to the 270 who lost their lives on Dec 21 st 1988 and their families. My team at RAF Leuchars along with so many others we gave so much yet we could do little but our jobs.

In times of crisis great people normal folk rise above the rest . They are a Band of Brothers and sisters that we owe so much to. Thank you .

My colleagues and friends in SAR and SARDA and all the military involved .

“We did our best you know the rest” Yet the journey is now completed the kids are home and we are here.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Cycling, Family, Friends, Lockerbie, Mountain rescue, PTSD, SAR, Views Political?. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cycle to Syracuse – Day 6 – visit a family , Police Escort tears, memories , joy and celebration. Paying respect and a journey completed,

  1. John drysdale says:

    Well done Heavy and all the team for representing Lockerbie and all the troops who were involved.my daughter was born 3 months before Lockerbie which meant leaving her and Anne doubly difficult so near to Christmas. Hardly seems 30 years ago. Stay safe and get well soon wee man

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John I know you and the Braemar boys were there! You are a true pal we have seen some things together but so glad I came .
      This was not for me but to get the kids home and tell folk of the great work of Mountain Rescue and the Search Dogs! Kind regards Heavy

      Like

  2. mairi says:

    Well done to you all for completing this challenge, it must mean so much to those who lost loved ones. Hope you’re feeling better soon and safe flight home x

    Like

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