Home   News   Article

Lossiemouth funeral director riding Harley Davidson from Lands End to John O’Groats for charity, inspired by mother’s dementia struggle

By Lewis McBlane

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

A HARLEY Davidson-riding Moray funeral director is tackling a “bucket list” charity challenge - inspired by his mother who has dementia.

Lossiemouth funeral director Graham Rattray (right) on his Harley Davidson ahead of his 24-hour motorbike challenge, with Peter Ross.
Lossiemouth funeral director Graham Rattray (right) on his Harley Davidson ahead of his 24-hour motorbike challenge, with Peter Ross.

Lossiemouth’s Graham Rattray (58) plans to ride his Harley Davidson from Lands End to John O’Groats in less than 24 hours next month.

Graham, who has been riding motorbikes “for years and years and years”, has already quadrupled his target of raising £1000 for a local cause close to his heart.

His mother Betty Rattray (81), who has vascular dementia, is among the vulnerable adults to access support and activities at the Moray Resource Centre in Elgin.

Graham said the centre is important in helping to manage his mum’s condition, by keeping her brain active.

Cash raised from the ride will go to the centre’s Client Comfort Fund, used to provide events and activities like Shetland ponies visits and painting for residents.

“Every day that she goes there, she looks forward to it. You can see she’s eager to get going in the morning,” he said.

“There are lots of things in her life that she has no recollection of, but she always remembers the visits to the resource centre.

“That is how important it is to her, and it is that important to everybody who goes there.

“Our family are grateful for the smile Betty comes home with after each visit.”

Starting on his birthday, June 5, Graham will be joined by his friend Peter Ross.

Graham will ride his Harley Davidson 114 Fat Boy, while Peter will be riding a Suzuki GSX S1000 also owned by Graham.

To complete the near-850 mile trip in 24 hours, the pair will have to maintain an average speed of around 35 miles per hour throughout.

Graham said the only stops planned were at petrol stations, to refuel every 140 miles.

The bikes for the challenge will travel south to the starting line on a trailer driven by Graham’s nephew Ryan, who will follow the pair north in case of bike breakdown.

“Hopefully it doesn’t come to that,” Graham said.

The funeral director is aiming to beat his one-day personal record of 750 miles, which he set 20 years ago.

His chosen bike for the challenge, however, could add an extra challenge to the long and demanding ride.

His Harley Davidson has “no added-on comforts”, or protection from punishing winds, making the trip “quite a challenge”.

And while preparing for his challenge, strain from a weekend ride to Glasgow meant that he “could barely walk”.

But, he added, the problem was easily solved by a further loosening-up ride to Wick and Thurso shortly afterwards.

Fellow bikers have questioned his decision, and expressed doubts over whether he will be able to complete the journey in time.

Graham said: “A lot of folk that I tell, who also ride bikes, say: ‘That’s absolutely crazy. There’s no way you will manage it in 24 hours on that.’

“But it has been done before, so we’ll get it done.

“And then we’ll recover for a few days afterwards.”

Graham said the £4240 already raised showed that those with experience of the Moray Resource Centre were passionate about its good work.

However, he said many in Moray were unaware of the centre and that he hoped to raise awareness of it.

Graham said pressures on public spending made it important to support services like the Moray Resource Centre.

He said: “It is something that needs to be supported in the area because, at the moment, there’s not a lot of cash to throw behind it in Moray.

“None of us know when or if we will need the same resource.

“If we don’t support it, with the way things are going, we might end up with nothing.”

Despite facing a tough challenge, Graham is determined to make the best of the once-in-a-lifetime ride.

“I am going to do it come hell or high water - we’ve got to,” he said.

“I won’t be able to sleep at night if we don’t complete it.”

His business, Graham J Rattray Funeral Directors and Monumental Suppliers, offers a motorcycle sidecar hearse service and can deliver ashes by bike - including on his Harley Davidson.

Click here for more information about Graham’s challenge.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More