The Braveheart Fund was launched in 2003 by former British champion, Motorola professional and Giro d’Italia survivor Brian Smith. Its aim is simple: to raise the funds to allow young Scottish cyclists, be they roadies, trackies or mountain bikers, to fulfil their potential.
Soon after setting up the Fund, Brian roped in some friends to help, notably Alan Miller, whose IT and administrative skills help the Fund to tick along. Brian, meanwhile, sticks to what he’s good at – blagging signed jerseys, photographs and a selection of priceless auction items, all of which help raise thousands of pounds at the annual dinner.
Olympic champion Chris Hoy is a committed patron and other supporters help out on a more infrequent basis (see profiles below), and there are always opportunities for others to get involved.
But the Braveheart Fund is not about these individuals – it is about the cycling community in Scotland coming together to help young riders pursue their goals and ambitions.
This has been the Fund’s greatest strength, and explains its fantastic success. In eight years, thanks to the dinner, fundraising ride and other events and initiatives, the total raised stands at an incredible £250,000. In 2011 more than £20,000 was distributed among 11 riders. To date, the number of riders assisted by the Braveheart Fund is in excess of fifty.
The Braveheart Fund depends on the continued support of the Scottish cycling community – which turns out in force each year at the dinner, and comes up with new fundraising initiatives all the time – as well as the continued emergence of ambitious young riders.
Eventually, it is hoped that a Braveheart-funded rider will follow in the wheel-marks of the country’s greats – Ken Laidlaw, Ian Steel, Billy Bilsland, Robert Millar, David Millar, Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Eddie Alexander, to name a few – and make it to the very top of world cycling.