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The Cyclist, the Charity and the Deep Sea Diver

By Liam Griffin

“Over the years we’ve been established here, Puffin Dive Centre students have completed in excess of half a million training dives in total safety.”

There’s not a hint of bombast or boastfulness in Course Director, Mike Morgan’s statement as he and I look out from the pier at Gallanach, Puffin Dive Centre’s base, near Oban. (

I’ve known Mike for twenty some years now. He’s not a man to call a spade a shovel! I’d approached him a few weeks previously, seeking a few pounds sponsorship for the “Pedal for Scotland” bike ride in which I was planning to participate.The worthy cause I was promoting was, of course, local charity, Friends of Kilbride.

At that initial visit, canny Mike had signed up the sponsorship form for a £100, with the provision that the first £50 was a donation, with a £1 for every mile of the 50 mile course I completed. However, before making the donation, the risk manager in Mike’s DNA surfaced.

Before committing his own name and Puffin Dive Centre’s reputation to my cause, Mike asked the question, “Can I take it there’ll be an adequate safety plan in place, and you’ll promise not to get carried away and give yourself a coronary in the process?”

Mike need not have worried about Pedal for Scotland’s safety plan. As I’ve noted in other posts about the event, Pedal for Scotland’s organisation of the event  was without blemish.With the cooperation of Police Scotland, the Ambulance Service and the motoring public, on-site bike mechanics, and with drinks and food stops along the way,  7,000 cyclists of all ages, cycling experience and physical condition safely participated in the event, transiting from Glasgow Green, all the way across Central Scotland, to the Capital, Edinburgh. In the process, a raft of charities, including Friends of Kilbride, benefited significantly.

And now, having completed the ride, (50.84 miles according to my computer,) at Mike’s invitation, I’d called down to Puffin’s base at Gallanach to collect the promised donation and sponsorship. As we do with all those who support our charity, Friends of Kilbride take this opportunity to thank Mike, and his staff at Puffin, especially Nicola and Mo, for their generous donation.We include in that thanks all those who donated, local folk and businesses, from the diaspora, Clan MacDougall and all the others, who put their hands deep into their pockets and raised £1306.70 pence. Every penny will be used to keep Historic Kilbride’s past alive. For it is a past too rich to have no future.

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