Fife volunteer honoured for helping to launch first Kirkcaldy cycling festival

A Fife volunteer has been recognised for his work to launch active travel initiatives in Kirkcaldy including helping to launch the area’s first cycling festival, community bike shop and cycle map.
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George McDermid has been recognised as the winner of Active Travel Volunteer of the Year at Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2022.

The 60-year-old is a volunteer with Greener Kirkcaldy and is committed to sharing his skills, enthusiasm and knowledge, to help members of the community become confident and safe cyclists.

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Since retiring four years ago, George has played a key role in setting up Greener Kirkcaldy’s active travel initiatives including launching and regularly leading cycle rides, establishing Kirkcaldy’s first cycling festival and opening a community bike shop, Lang Toun Cycles which helps recycle, repair and loan bikes.

George McDermid has been recognised as the winner of Active Travel Volunteer of the Year at Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2022.George McDermid has been recognised as the winner of Active Travel Volunteer of the Year at Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2022.
George McDermid has been recognised as the winner of Active Travel Volunteer of the Year at Scotland’s national walking charity, Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2022.

On top of this, George has been actively involved in designing a cycle map, allowing others to choose routes to travel using the bike, wheeling or on foot to get around Kirkcaldy in a cleaner, greener way.

George said: “It’s fantastic being able to lead the cycling groups and share my knowledge. Each week you can really see the group develop and their confidence grow.

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“My parents met at the local cyclists touring group and I’ve been Chair in various different cycling groups before joining Greener Kirkcaldy. Cycling is in my DNA – it’s always been a part of my life and I love the freedom it enables so I want to share that with others and make cycling accessible for everyone.

George McDermid (right) at the EsplanadeGeorge McDermid (right) at the Esplanade
George McDermid (right) at the Esplanade
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“It’s touching to be nominated as I don’t volunteer for the recognition, I do it because I truly want to. Being able to see group members develop and their confidence grow each week while doing something positive for the community is so rewarding.”

George has encouraged many to ditch the car and to either walk or cycle whenever possible for shorter journeys and he is a terrific role model practising what he preaches.

Throughout the pandemic George delivered community meals by bike and also allowed the bike shop to continue by sanitising bikes and meeting customers to help restrict the numbers in the shop.

Greener Kirkcaldy is a community-led charity and development trust which works to combat the climate emergency, tackle fuel poverty, food insecurities and to bring people together to achieve a more sustainable Kirkcaldy

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The charity is support by Paths for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund.

The Fife man was commended at Paths for All’s prestigious annual awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on 28 September.

Hosted by BBC Scotland's Fiona Stalker and sponsored by Paul MacLennan MSP, the event recognised 11 groups and individuals throughout Scotland who have gone the extra mile to keep their communities active.

Public Health Minister, Maree Todd has championed the awards.

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She said: “Encouraging and supporting people in Scotland to walk and wheel is a key part of our vision of a country where more people are more active more often.

“A huge number of highly motivated and skilled people are helping us deliver this vision, not least the passionate and dedicated volunteers who do so much to help others overcome challenges to participation.

“They are an inspiration and I am delighted that their contribution is being recognised by Paths for All in these Awards.”