Black Lives Matter protests inspire Fife cyclist’s 65-mile fundraising ride
On June 22, Jerry DeGroot will turn 65, and to mark the occasion the American, who has lived in Britain for 40 years, has decided to cycle 65 miles around the Kingdom to raise funds in honour of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racially-motivated attack in 1993.
“I’ve always been alert to what is happening in the US, in particular the Black Lives Matters movement,” said Jerry.
“Also the aggressive reaction from the police and president.
“I wanted to do something in Britain, and this was the first thing that came to mind. It’s always been important to me.”
Jerry will be cycling from St Andrews to New Gilston, down to Kennoway, along to Auchtermuchty and then Newburgh, and back along the coast to St Andrews.
While the date of the cycle depends on the weather, Jerry hopes to do it on the 25th.
He will be raising funds for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which is dedicated to tackling all forms of inequality, and was started in honour of the murdered Black English teenager.
It took almost 20 years until two of the perpetrators were jailed for his murder, and became a watershed moment in dealing with racist attitudes and the police.
“It was such a clear case of a racist murder,” said Jerry.
“It wasn’t a pub fight or a football thing. The other reason it stuck with me was the length of time it took to get justice.
“That was a manifestation of racism as well.
“His mother was so dignified throughout and I was so impressed.
“I am passionate about this, perhaps more than I realised. Recent events have just made me more angry.”
Jerry has asked his friends and family to donate to his fundraising page, which has already reached £1159 – 85 per cent of his target – at the time of writing.
The soon-to-be-OAP only recently got back on his bike, having been forced to come off for three years because of health problems.
However, with the gyms closed, Jerry has got back on the bike and is preparing for his 65-mile challenge, the first fundraiser he has done.
If you would like to support Jerry and donate some funds towards the Stehen Lawrence Charitable Trust, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gerard-degroot.