A FORMER top-flight football referee and Scotland cricket captain is getting on his bike for charity.

George Salmond, who took charge of nearly 200 matches across Scotland and represented his country at the Commonwealth Games and Cricket World Cup, will pedal from Myreside in Edinburgh to Lord’s Cricket Ground in London in aid of Sporting Start.

The North Berwick resident will be joined by work colleague Alasdair MacDonell on the 500-mile cycle, which gets under way later this month.

The duo both work at Edinburgh’s George Watson’s College and will set off on Wednesday, June 26, on the five-day cycle.

George said: “We are really excited about it.

“It is one of those challenges – I love a challenge like this – and it is just something different.

“We are both determined that we are going to enjoy it but I suppose it is the unknown.”

Sporting Start was set up following the death of Martin Macari just over two years ago.

George, who lives on the town’s Stair Park, had known Martin, who was just 47 when he died from cancer, for several years.

Forty-nine-year-old George said: “Martin was a former pupil of the school and I used to play cricket against him in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

“He was a stalwart of George Watson’s rugby and cricket and was a very fit guy.

“Unfortunately, two years past February, he died from cancer.

“His children still attend the school and his wife and other family members and friends set up the charity, which is really to allow youngsters, who maybe do not have access to coaching or cannot afford a pair of football boots, access to sport.”

Ex-Scotland rugby captain and former North Berwick RFC head coach Jason White, who is now head of sport at Loretto School in Musselburgh, was Martin’s flat-mate when they were younger and is now a trustee of the charity.

George, who is head of junior school at George Watson’s College, and Alasdair, who is a depute headteacher, will set off from Myreside before stopping at North Berwick.

From there, it is over the Border to Alnwick before the duo continue south and finally reach Lord’s at the beginning of July.

It is a venue that is well known to George, who made 146 appearances for Scotland’s cricket team, including at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and at the Cricket World Cup in England the following year.

He said: “I played at Lord’s three times.

“Every other year, Scotland play the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), with one year in Scotland and one year at Lord’s.

“There might have only been one man and his dog watching the game but it was amazing to be there.”

After hanging up his bat, he made the move from cricket to football and was a category 1 football referee for nearly a decade – taking charge at grounds including Celtic Park, Easter Road and Hampden Park, where he was the referee for the Petrofac League Challenge Cup final when Rangers defeated Peterhead in 2016.

The former referee is now enjoying cycling, having taken part in a much shorter event last year.

He said: “I did a charity cycle for the same charity last summer, which was from Myreside to North Berwick, and really loved it.

“I borrowed a bike – I had not had a bike since I was about 18 – and it was a miserable day cycling into the wind, into the rain, but I really loved it.”

To support the good cause, go to goldengiving.com/fundraising/myreside2lords