George pedals ahead with dedication to active travel
Greener Kirkcaldy volunteer George McDermid is the deserving winner of Active Travel Volunteer of the Year at Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards 2022.
Since retiring four years ago, George has played a key role in setting up Greener Kirkcaldy’s active travel initiatives including launching and regularly leading cycle rides, establishing Kirkcaldy’s first cycling festival and opening Lang Toun Cycles, our community bike shop.
On top of this, George has been actively involved in designing the Kirkcaldy Cycle Map, which allows others to choose routes to travel using the bike, wheeling or on foot to get around Kirkcaldy in a cleaner, greener way.
George said: “It’s fantastic being able to lead the cycling groups and share my knowledge. Each week you can really see the group develop and their confidence grow.
“My parents met at the local cyclists touring group and I’ve been Chair in various different cycling groups before joining Greener Kirkcaldy. Cycling is in my DNA – it’s always been a part of my life and I love the freedom it enables so I want to share that with others and make cycling accessible for everyone.
“It’s touching to be nominated as I don’t volunteer for the recognition, I do it because I truly want to. Being able to see group members develop and their confidence grow each week while doing something positive for the community is so rewarding.”
George has encouraged many to ditch the car and to either walk or cycle whenever possible for shorter journeys and he is a terrific role model practising what he preaches. Throughout the pandemic George delivered community meals by bike and also allowed the bike shop to continue by sanitising bikes and meeting customers to help restrict the numbers in the shop.
Greener Kirkcaldy is a community-led charity and development trust which works to combat the climate emergency, tackle fuel poverty, food insecurities and to bring people together to achieve a more sustainable Kirkcaldy.
George was presented with his award at the Scottish Parliament building 28 September at a ceremony hosted by BBC Scotland’s Fiona Stalker and sponsored by Paul MacLennan MSP.
Kevin Lafferty, Chief Executive Officer at Paths for All, said: “Individuals like George represent exactly why we host the award ceremony every year.
“Giving your time and energy to a cause without financial reward – may seem like a big ask but our volunteers continually go above and beyond in local communities across Scotland and never fail to make it look effortless. Even though we all know an immense amount of work goes on behind the scenes.
“The work carried out by volunteers is directly improving the nation’s physical, mental and social health, reducing social isolation and loneliness and helping people make more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.