Inspirational Leeds United fan to complete 1,000 mile Ireland bike ride to fund vital MND research

An inspirational Leeds United fan is set to complete a 1,000 mile bike ride around Ireland to help fund vital research into MND .

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 1:52 pm

Phil Buchan, 50, was struck by a car in London which had mounted the pavement four years ago while he was on his way to a Leeds United match.

The impact instantly sliced off the lower part of his right leg, forcing him to spend several months in a wheelchair before he later learnt to walk again using a prosthetic leg.

Not to be defeated, Phil took up cycling on a "serious basis" 12 months ago as part of his recovery.

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Phil Buchan and his bike
Phil Buchan and his bike

Phil said he had seen the impact of MND on two of the city's most influential sportsman - former Leeds United & England football manager Don Revie, who died in 1989, and Leeds Rhinos & England rugby league legend Rob Burrow - as well as lifelong Leeds fans such as Belfast's Colm Davis.

Colm Davis OBE, 62, a former head teacher of a special school in Belfast, was diagnosed with MND in 2016 and sadly passed away in January 2021 leaving behind his wife Vic and children Victoria, Colm and Amy.

Colm used his experience of living with MND for tireless fundraising and raising awareness for MN - a disease which affects 1 in 300 of the population.

Colm was a Leeds United fan "from birth" and passed on that love to his son Colm Jnr, 27, travelling together to watch Leeds many times each season.

Phil Buchan and his bike

The evening before Colm passed away, he was able to watch Leeds one final time with his son, a match that Leeds won 2-1 - as reported in a Yorkshire Evening Post tribute.

Phil is now aiming to raise funds for Doddie's Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Foundation "in honour of Doddie, Rob, Don, Colm and all other sufferers of this disease".

He is taking part in the Great Rugby Cycle 2021 which will cover over 1,000 miles around Ireland.

The Great Rugby Cycle is a cycling event which is ran in support of the My Name’5 Doddie foundation.

Phil Buchan and his bike

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was launched in November 2017 and its aims are to raise funds to aid research into the causes of MND and possble cures.

Speaking to the YEP, Phil said: "This cycle around Ireland is an immense challenge for all of us, and especially for me, and to put it into perspective, the total distance we are due to ride is around the same as professional cyclists are riding during the first 10 days of this year's Tour de France.

"All participants of this cycle are funding the trip themselves, thus ensuring 100% of funds raised are donated to the charity.

Phil said one of his friends urged him to take up a sport to help with his recovery.

He added: "The first person from my football friends to visit me in hospital was Mick Hewitt of the South Kirkby branch of the Leeds United Supporters Club, whom I travel with to Leeds away games, and the first thing he said when seeing my leg was "which paralympic sport are you going to do then?

"I thought that would be a bit out of my league but his comment did make me want to push myself to do something else to make a difference, once I had recovered from my injuries.

"For me the dedication of this cycle to Colm perfectly sums up the Leeds chant "all Leeds aren't we".

"Also, for all of us on the cycle to get round the ride together, it will only be possible to put "side before self, every time", another well used LUFC motto."

Phil has raised more than £1,000 for the ride already.