An Alexandria man is to visit all 42 Scottish professional football clubs on an epic cycle to raise money for charity.

David O’Donnell is making the marathon journey after his grandson was struck down with a rare condition and ended up in hospital.

Four-year-old Aidan Kane, from Ladyton, is still recovering after developing Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, three years ago.

Over the past couple of years, David, has gone abroad to complete 1,000 mile cycles in Europe, cycling along the Danube and, most recently, the ViaRhona route down to the Mediterranean.

This year, however, he has decided to stay a bit closer to home and will embark on a gruelling 1,100 mile trip to visit all 42 Scottish Professional Football League clubs starting on April 1 - a journey which should take around 22 days.

He hopes to raise £3,000, which will be split between Glasgow Children's Hospital and an Encephalitis charity.

David, who turns 70 this year, told the Reporter: “I’m not a great football fan, but I like watching it. It’s a purpose and a goal. I could just go round Scotland, but it’s not same.

“Some days will be shorter and some longer, but I’ll be doing about 50 miles a day, with a day off up in Inverness when my wife Morag comes up and meets me.

“I’ll be camping my way round. There is also an organisation called Warm Showers, which is a network of long distance cycle tourists, all over world, which I’m a member of. There are about nine (hosts) in Scotland I’ll be using on my way round. A guy is letting me camp in his garden in Ardrossan.”

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Aidan was originally taken to the doctor in March 2016 showing symptoms of a bad cold, before being admitted the next day to the Royal Alexandria Hospital where he was diagnosed with Influenza B.

Four days later he was transferred to the Glasgow Children’s Hospital where he had an MRI and EEG and was diagnosed with Encephalitis.

For several days he was fed by a tube, wired up to an ECG monitor and showed very little signs of responding to antibiotics and steroids.

Six days later, however, he managed some movement and managed to roll over, and a few days later was able to sit up with assistance.

David explained: "Seventeen days after first being admitted Aidan was allowed home, but still continues with visits to hospital as he has been left with a slight swelling at the back of his brain.

“He also suffers from loss of vision in his right eye. Hopefully with time they may be able to rectify this.

“So after all this trauma we still have our beautiful healthy little grandson.

“He’s okay, he’s improving day by day. He’s at nursery at the moment and will be starting at Bonhill Primary this year coming.”

Although David plans to do the cycle on his own, Aidan’s mum Jenny, may come along for the first two days of the trip, which will take the pair to the stadiums of Dumbarton, Partick Thistle, Clyde, Motherwell, Hamilton, Celtic, Queen’s Park, Rangers and St Mirren.

And David, hopes it will not just be Jenny, who gets on board with the challenge, but also each of the clubs he visits along the way.

He added: “I’m hoping to touch base with every club. I want to try and contact them all before I leave.

“I’m not necessarily looking for donations, but perhaps signed team photographs, so at the end of the challenge I could have a set of something and auction this off to raise some more money."

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