GENEROUS footballers are swapping their boots for bicycles to help boost NHS Lothian.

Ormiston FC’s players – and those behind the scenes – are getting on their bikes in a bid to raise money for the good cause, as well as boost club funds.

The challenge got under way on May 17 after the Scottish Government announced 2,103 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths.

Now, those at the club are looking to match that number by running or cycling one mile, for each of those lives lost, before this Sunday.

Richie Weir, manager of the East of Scotland Football League club, stressed the fundraising was entirely down to the players.

He said: “It was something that the players came up with as an idea of raising money and keeping themselves fit at the same time.

“It seems to be going all right and I think up to last night [Monday] they had done more than 1,120 miles.

“It is getting there, slowly but surely.

“Some of the guys are still working and doing it when they get home from work.

“A couple of the guys have done longer cycles – Brandon McGill lives in Musselburgh and he cycled out to the Forth Bridge and back. He is getting right into it.

“Our captain Tom Prior stays in Pathhead and cycled down to North Berwick, which is about 48 miles round-trip.

“It just shows the players are thinking about more than players.”

Money raised will be split 50/50 between the club and NHS Lothian, with local health services receiving an extra boost as the squad has agreed to donate club fines clocked up from last season too.

The fundraiser comes after the football season ground to a halt due to the coronavirus.

Ormiston had been sitting third bottom of the East of Scotland Football League Conference A but had enjoyed three wins in their last four games before the shutdown.

Weir stressed there were more important things going on than football but it was frustrating to see the season ended when the team were in good form.

He said: “With the season finishing early, we don’t know when it will start again whether it is this year, next year or whenever.

“We are trying to keep the players ticking over. This is a different type of fitness to playing football but maintains a certain level of fitness so when they are back it is not as tough on them.

“Obviously, the club has never had to deal with something like this before.

“The way it ended, there are more important things out there than football but it is strange.

“Even speaking to players about signing for next season, they ask questions and I cannot give them answers about when it will restart.

“It is strange and I am having to do everything by phone and not meet up with players.

“It is different but we are still managing to get everything done.”

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