TSB Community Partner Award winner gets on his bike

30 October 2017

Pride of Britain Image

Fraser Johnston, a young man who cycles the elderly around on trishaws to help fight loneliness among old people, has won the TSB Community Partner Award at Pride of Britain.

The Falkirk resident was recognised at the ceremony on Monday night for his inspirational voluntary efforts, which see him take care home residents out and about in the local area.

The 20-year-old student, pictured above with residents from the Carrondale Nursing Home, set up the scheme in his spare time in 2016, and has taken pensioners, all aged over 85, on more than 1,000 rides on trishaws, which have two passenger seats on the front.

Speaking about his win, Fraser said: “It’s a massive honour to be given the TSB Community Partner Award. Hopefully, other people will see what the team and I are doing and be inspired to get involved in their own communities.

“Taking the older generation out on our trishaws doesn’t just give them fresh air and a chance to chat – it also makes them feel less isolated and a part of society again.”

Since his first ride last year, Fraser has grown Cycling Without Age Falkirk from a two-bike operation into one with eight bikes and 30 volunteers.

Fraser and his team chat, sing and sightsee around the local area, giving the pensioners a change of scene and – as Fraser says – making them feel a part of society.

This summer, a Facebook video of Fraser in action with his passengers went viral, gaining more than 38 million views.

Fraser said: “I really wanted to find a way to help the elderly get out and about. I’d seen the work Cycling Without Age had done in Denmark and thought that it would be a perfect way to reach out to pensioners here. I started by taking a couple of women to the Falkirk Kelpies as they’d never seen them, despite only living a few miles away. They loved it so much they wanted to go again. They saw things outside that helped jog memories from their past.”

He added: “It’s not about the destination – for them, it’s about the journey.”

Pride of Britain judge Eamonn Holmes praised Fraser’s scheme and commitment to helping to make a difference in his community.

He said: “It’s great to hear about a young person going out of his way to help the older community. There are lots of groups and clubs for older people, but I know that my mum, for instance, wouldn’t go to one of them because she’d say, ‘That’s for old people.’

“So it’s nice to give older people a chance to do something that gets them out of the house and doesn’t remind them of their age.”

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