75-year-old Greer cycles 75 miles to raise money for ‘life-saving’ airline
A Downpatrick man has marked his 75th birthday by cycling a 75-mile route along the Co Down coast and Ards Peninsula in aid of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) – the world’s largest humanitarian airline.
Greer Lowe who describes himself as ‘fairly new’ to cycling, gathered a team of local cyclists to complete a challenging route between Strangford and Dundrum.
Participating in MAF’s 7&5 challenge – a fundraising campaign to mark the charity’s 75th anniversary – Greer decided to mark his special birthday and celebrate MAF’s by setting an ambitious £7,500 fundraising target. The team have been overwhelmed by support from the local community and has so far raised over £10,000 towards the airline’s life-saving work.
Greer has supported MAF for over 50 years, having developed a keen interest in aviation from a young age. He is particularly fond of the charity because his son, Jonathan Lowe, has been a mission pilot with MAF in Timor Leste, and Arnhem Land, Northern Australia, for over a decade.
Greer managed to recruit a group of enthusiastic cyclists - totaling 26 in different parts of the world - to join the fundraising marathon to mark his special day.
He said: “Their (MAF’s) work saves lives in very remote communities across the world – some who have no access to any medical or practical help. So, I’m overjoyed that we have exceeded our target – and I’m so grateful for everyone who has supported us so far. I’m also proud of the guys and girls who completed the bike ride with me. This will certainly be a birthday to remember!”
With a fleet of 123 light aircraft, MAF delivers humanitarian personnel, medical cargo and carries out disaster relief operations in remote or inaccessible communities across 25 developing countries.
The charity was founded in the aftermath of WWII by a handful of RAF veterans, and now flies to more remote destinations than any other airline.
Ruth Whitaker, ceo at MAF-UK said: “Greer and his cycling team have truly gone the extra mile in cycling a very challenging distance and for raising such an impressive amount for MAF. It’s heartening to see people joining from across the world to support MAF and mark Greer’s birthday. From everyone at MAF, a very big thank you to everyone who cycled, donated and supported this memorable event.”