MSPs do battle for local good causes

Liam Kerr and Mairi Gougeon get in some training for the fundraiser
Liam Kerr and Mairi Gougeon get in some training for the fundraiser

Two North East politicians will trade a healthy rivalry at the Scottish Parliament for a triathlon tussle next month.

MSPs Liam Kerr and Mairi Gougeon are used to running for office and regularly debate each other’s points of view from the Scottish Conservative and SNP benches at Holyrood.

But on July 22 they will be running, swimming and cycling for good causes as part of the first Tri-Angus event in Forfar.

And while they frequently disagree on politics, one thing was on the agenda when they met trackside recently – raising money for a “life-saving” Mearns Mental Health organisation and a youth centre in Forfar.

Pillar Kincardine works with people who have serious emotional, social or mental health difficulties and depends almost entirely on fundraising.

And The Pitstop in Forfar provides a safe environment for young people.

Mr Kerr, North East Region Scottish Conservative MSP, said: “We are both very supportive of the great work done by Pillar and thought this would be a good way to support charity while keeping fit.

“There is obviously a certain amount of competitiveness and we both want to race ahead.

“I always want to win but so long as we raise lots of money, I don’t mind who’s first past the post.”

Angus North and Mearns SNP MSP Mrs Gougeon said: “We are rivals in the Scottish Parliament debating chamber and will be rivals again in the Forfar triathlon.

“Make no mistake, I will be doing my best to beat Liam across the finish line. But no matter who finishes first the ultimate winners will be the two fantastic charities that we are raising money for.

“Pillar Kincardine do amazing work in supporting those with mental health issues in the North-east and The Pitstop has provided a safe, welcoming environment to young people for more than 20 years. Both organisations do fantastic work.”