AN AMATEUR goalkeeper has already raised nearly £2,000 for a close friend’s cancer charity fundraiser, as he prepares for a cycle in the French mountains.

William Turner, from Lochend in Edinburgh, has known Tranent’s Johnnie Meechan since childhood, when they played football together.

On September 29, William will take on Mont Ventoux, in the Provence region of southern France, in a cycling challenge to raise funds and awareness for Johnnie’s Journey and NET cancer – the rare cancer that Johnnie is suffering from.

The physically demanding cycle will see William travel to the summit of the mountain – used as stage 11 in this year’s Tour de France – and down again three times in one day from three different towns: Bédoin, Malaucène and Sault.

In preparation, William, a goalie with Musselburgh Windsor AFC, has been cycling more than 100 miles at the weekends.

He said: “I do boxing training two nights a week and more recently returned to football.

“I will need to push as hard as possible up until the week before I go and then rest a few days.

“On arrival in Bédoin the day before the cycle, I will have a day with the hire bike to get set up and comfortable and will do a flat local route for this.”

William will fly to Marseille on September 27 and spend a day in the French town either side of his trip to Bédoin and the cycle itself on September 29.

He will return to Scotland on October 1.

William said: “It looks like the restrictions are easing well and will be minimal by the time I go.

“I love France and cannot wait to get back there in general.

“A friend of mine, James Anderson, is coming out with me and will do some hillwalking in the area whilst I cycle.

“We go out once or twice a year to watch Olympique Marseille play football and are hoping they have a Europa League home game on the Thursday we can attend, if I can walk!”

William is looking forward to his cycle.

He said: “As for the cycle itself, I am quite relaxed about that as I know it will be very difficult, but the training so far should put me in a good position for a slow and steady climb to see it through, as well as the reason for doing it and the backing of so many people so far.

“The downhills will be easy enough, and speeds of about 40 to 55mph possible, with care taken of course, and I have been practising this and the climbing at Redstone Rigg on the road to Duns, various steep parts of East Lothian, Arthur’s Seat, the Lowther Hills and Green Lowther, which is the second highest tarmac road surface in the UK, down near Biggar.

“The weather at that time of year is normally 24 degrees at ground level and about 10 degrees less at the summit, so perfect for me, given the conditions we live with here.”

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