Sep 26 2012 by ContentWatchImporter, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
A DUMFRIES campaigner was honoured at a top awards ceremony hosted by Channel 4 newsman Jon Snow.
Cycling enthusiast Sally Hinchcliffe organised the massive Pedal on Parliament protest in April to raise awareness about road safety for cyclists.
And her efforts were recognised when she was selected as a finalist for the Transport Award at the SMK Awards 2012 in London last week.
The campaign – headed by round the world cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont – brought together more than 3,000 protesters to pedal to the Scottish Parliament with a petition for MSPs.
Sally, aged 43, said: “I was pleased to be named a finalist at a national awards ceremony for campaigners from all over the country.
“It was great because all of the finalists and winners got to attend workshops about campaigning and other areas.
“We’re just a group of cyclists who’ve never done anything like this before and having some support from SMK to help us make connections with others on the Scottish scene will be invaluable.”
Sally, a board member of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, decided to launch the protest after a late night conversation on Twitter – and organised it entirely online.
The eight-point manifesto behind the project included: proper funding for cycling; better infrastructure design; safer speeds; proper local cycling strategies; and better law enforcement.
Sally, who lives near Shawhead, said: “I had been involved in Cycling Dumfries for about a year before that but never organised anything like this.
“There was a protest in London to cycle on Westminster Parliament and I commented on Twitter that we should be doing a similar thing in Scotland, seeing as we have our own parliament.
“People came and joined us from all over Scotland and there were a few cyclists from Dumfries involved.”
She added: “This area has a real mixture of facilities for cyclists.
“Maxwelltown is really impressive for a town but when you get up to Annan Road or Lockerbie Road you are completely on your own.
“We would like to see a proper network in Dumfries and Galloway and intend to do the protest again next year.”
The SMK Awards are organised by the Sheila McKechnie Foundation which was set up in memory of trade unionist, housing campaigner and activist Dame Sheila McKechnie.
The charity was established to support a new generation of campaigners.
Linda Butcher, chief executive of SMK, said: “At a time when campaigners across the globe are taking action on issues they care about, it is extremely important to recognise the people across the UK who tackle the injustices and inequalities we face in our society.
“Our winners and finalists do just that.
“These inspiring individuals, from all walks of life, care deeply about an issue and have got great ideas about how to make things better.
“Sally is a fantastic example of someone who is dedicated to making a nationwide change through grassroots action.”