Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Scootering to Africa for charity

By Denise Glass
Tayside reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Sam and his dad
Sam set off from Auchterarder on the 6,000-mile round trip

A chef who rode a scooter from Auchterarder to Morocco and back in honour of his mother has handed over a cheque for 40,000 to Cancer Research UK.

Sam Wightman, from Kinross, chose to undertake the 6,000-mile round trip the year he turned 28 because his mother, Anne, was that age when she died of stomach cancer in 1988.

Mr Wightman rode through wind, rain and scorching heat during the 17-day journey.

He even chose to carry on when his support team, who were carrying his food, clothes and spare parts, had to abandon him because their van broke down half-way through the journey.

Mr Wightman set off from Auchterarder on 2 June and arrived back on 19 June.

Since his return he has been busy collecting money, and on Friday morning he handed over the cheque.

Sam on his trip
He passed through England, France, Spain and into Africa

Mr Wightman had only passed his scooter driving test three days before starting his journey.

He drove through England, France and Spain before reaching Sale in Morocco.

That was where his team, made up of his girlfriend and two friends, had to leave him after breaking down.

The chef admitted it was a worrying ride back.

He said: "Honda's technical department said that I would need a spare exhaust for the scooter because it wouldn't last the pace - they're designed for short bursts and not long hauls.

"So I had to buy an exhaust and that was kept in the support vehicle, so on the road back I was always concerned about the scooter and that was always in the back of my mind.

The van breaking down
The support van broke down in Morocco

"I didn't actually camp on the road back because all I had with me was a sleeping bag, so I had to sleep in service stations beside the motorbike. It was very daunting."

He said the best parts of his journey had been camping in the Pyrenees and meeting new people.

And he admits there were some positives to having to journey back alone.

"It was a lot of thinking time and it certainly made me think about the reasons why I was doing it," he said.

He said he had always worried about turning 28 and had wondered how it would feel.

"The journey was very hard and not having the support team there made it more of a challenge.

"But the fact that I came home and completed it safely really put the icing on the cake for me," he said.

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SEE ALSO
Journey to honour cancer mother
02 Jun 08 |  Tayside and Central

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