Cycle4David Team Raise £25,350

To mark the second anniversary of David Hill’s tragic death, members of David’s family and friends cycled the match ball from Edinburgh to Dublin, for the second playing of the David Hill Memorial Quaich, which took place at Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin on 16th March 2024, between the Dail and Seanad and the Scottish Parliament rugby teams.

The Cycle4David Team were cheered out of British Gas Murrayfield, following the presentation by Chris Paterson of Scottish Rugby of the match ball to David’s father, Rodger.

The Cycle4David team then cycled through Edinburgh accompanied by The Rt Hon. Alison Johnstone MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. They called at the Scottish Parliament where they were greeted by Jamie Greene MSP and many other families who have lost loved ones to Sudden Cardiac Death. Ms Johnstone addressed the group and took time to speak with many of the families individually.

The Cycle4David Team travelled down through the Borders, through Dumfries and Galloway then across and down through Ireland arriving in Dublin on Friday 15th March. Whilst cycling through Dumfries and Galloway, the Cycle4David team called at 11 secondary schools, to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) and to raise funds and to promote upcoming cardiac screening events in Dumfries. They were joined by local MSP’s Oliver Mundell, Colin Smyth and Finlay Carson at various schools. The team were accompanied with up to 60 young people and their teachers who cycled with them on the different legs through Dumfries and Galloway, at times in the most atrocious of weather.

An emotional Rodger and Lesley Hill arrived in Dublin on Friday 15th March having completed 322 miles. They were met by delegates from Scottish and Irish Rugby, as well as the respective team captains, along with members of both teams plus friends and family.

Rodger stated “The kindness and support we have received at every step of the way has been humbling, the reception at the schools was truly amazing. This has been made possible by the love and support we have been shown by so many people. This was a mammoth challenge; I hope David would have been proud of Lesley and I”.

The teams featured members of Parliament from both respective nations. The game was fiercely contested and took place almost two years to the day that David died suddenly in the same fixture in 2022. The Irish team retained the David Hill Memorial Quaich, generously donated by David’s family, winning the match 17-12.

David collapsed whilst playing a cross-party rugby match for Holyrood against Dail and Seanad XV at the Donnybrook Stadium in Dublin as part of the Parliamentary Six Nations. He was aged just 30.

Originally from Dumfriesshire, David worked for several MSPs during his time at Holyrood and at the time of his death he had been working for Jamie Greene MSP. David’s popularity and hardworking reputation led to him being posthumously named Parliamentary Staffer of the Year in September 2022 at the Holyrood Magazine Awards.

Every week in the UK, around 12 young people (that are aged 35 and under) die suddenly from a previously diagnosed heart condition.  80% of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms – which is why CRY is so committed to the importance of specialist cardiac screening.

To date, the David Hill Memorial Fund has now raised over £65,000 which has allowed David’s family to organise 600 free cardiac screenings in Dumfries on 18th/19th May 2024, 12th/13th April 2025 and 13th/14th September 2025, with more screenings to follow. Additionally, funds from the Cycle4David will be used to offer defibrillators to each secondary school in Dumfries and Galloway.

Dr Steven Cox, Chief Executive of CRY adds: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks – and admiration – for Rodger, Lesley and everyone else involved with Cycle4David. The funds raised through this challenge is just awesome and will make a huge difference to the numbers of young people we’ll be able to screen in Scotland, over the next 18 months, and beyond.
“As I’ve noted before, Cycle4David was a truly epic and inspirational challenge – and the levels of awareness raised too, as the team travelled from Edinburgh to Dublin, has been invaluable.
“More than 80 MSPs have now signed up to CRY’s pledge for the prevention of young sudden cardiac death and, as Cycle4David was midway through its journey, we were all so encouraged to hear a short speech during First Ministers Questions wishing the team well and again raising the issue of Holyrood’s support for our campaign for cardiac screening.”
“Thank you again to all of David’s friends and family for your ongoing support.”

CRY also funds pioneering research into the conditions that can cause young sudden cardiac death as well as providing a unique bereavement support network for all families who have been affected. CRY’s screening programme currently tests over 25,000 young people (aged 14-35) every year in the UK (and has screened over 275,000 young people in total, to date).

Although heart screening won’t identify all young people at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, they have reduced the incidence of young sudden cardiac death by 89%. This is because sport – whilst it does not actually cause sudden cardiac death – can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition.

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