WHILE many hail Chris Froome as this year’s Tour de France champion, a charity has declared nine- year- old Carluke lad Max Laird the REAL winner.
That is because the Kirkton Primary pupil has successfully cycled one of the famous race’s toughest stages, not for the personal international fame and fortune it brings the professional riders, but to help other youngsters, those who are desperately ill and badly in need of a morale-booster to help them face a doubtful future.
Inspired by an illness that affected a member of his own family, Max decided that he’d turn his already impressive cycling skills and endurance to a great local cause, the Carluke-based Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation.
This organisation was started by Lanarkshire railwayman Les 23 years ago when his then-young daughter was battling leukaemia and needed a special treat to help her through the arduous - and eventually successful - treatment she had to undergo.
After making her dream to see her favourite group Boyzone come true, Les turned his efforts to raising cash to bring some cheer into the lives of other youngsters sorely in need of a very special treat.
Since then the foundation Les created has raised many thousands of pounds making, as its name suggests, the dreams of very sick kid all over Scotland come true by financing special holidays and meetings with idols.
Now these fine efforts are attracting the support of youngsters who are hale and hearty but want to help those of their age-group less fortunate than themselves.
Carluke’s Max Laird is one such wee kid with a big, big heart and he took on the dreaded Alpe d’Huez stage of the Tour route with fellow keen cyclist dad Keith (40) at his side. Max made the 13.2km, 1071m ascent in a very crediitable 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Mum Elaine - who wisely followed them by car - told the Gazette: “Max is a really keen club cyclist but is actually having a year off from competition. Still, he managed to take on one of the toughest stages in the whole Tour de France. Me and Keith are very, very proud of him.”
The current total raised by Max stands at £400 and readers can add to it via virginmoneygiving. com/ElaineLaird.