Forfar butcher swaps saddle of beef for bike saddle to raise funds for community defibrillator

© DC ThomsonKris and Jo Davidson at Robert Watt Butchers in Forfar.
Kris and Jo Davidson at Robert Watt Butchers in Forfar.

A Forfar butcher who suffers from agonising arthritis pedalled through the pain barrier to raise life-saving funds for a defibrillator.

Kris Davidson, 38, of Robert Watt Butchers in North Street, completed a gruelling 102-mile course with his brother-in-law, Shane Whyte, smashing the £2,000 target for the machine, which will be accessible 24 hours a day.

Their efforts were part of the ‘Scottish Craft Butchers at the heart of the community’ initiative, a partnership between local businesses and Save a Life for Scotland.

It is inspiring many shops to fundraise for their own defibrillators and, with 400 butchers within the network, the impact could be huge.

Kris swapped a saddle of beef for a bike saddle to complete a route around rural Angus in nine hours and 35 minutes.

He said: “We started at the Forfar Asda store as part of an Audax cycling event – needless to say the pro riders left us in their wake.”

Kris during his 102 mile bike challenge

The route took the cyclists out the Montrose Road, down to Brechin, Edzell, Fettercairn, Auchenblae, Kirriemuir, Glen Isla and back to Forfar via Meigle.

Kris continued: “Kilry Hill near Glen Isla was an absolute monster.

“When we got to the top it was 80 miles and the last 22 miles back via Meigle was quite a good ride in, it was pretty flat with a few downhills.”

Kris was nervous about the challenge as he was diagnosed with arthritis in his hip many years ago.

“The doctor thought she was looking at the hip of a 70-year-old.

“My physio says I have the same strength in my legs as a 10-year-old.

“Every day I struggle with the pain; sometimes when I come home from work I am in absolute agony, so training and the ride itself were a challenge for me.

“I’m not a keen cyclist – that was the whole point of the challenge. I went from zero miles to 100 miles in only three or four weeks.”

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Kris’s wife Jo, also helped boost the funds by making novelty Highland cows which were bought by customers.

© DC Thomson
Some of the novelty Highland Coos made by Jo Davidson.

Kris continued: “We wanted to raise funds for a defibrillator for North Street as part of the ‘butchers at the heart of Scotland’ campaign.

“North Street is very busy, there are lots of residents and businesses and we thought it was a good idea to fundraise for one.

“We are in the process of getting one from St John’s ambulance and it will be placed outside the shop; we hope to organise a training session for residents and businesses to show them how to use the defibrillator.”

Douglas Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Craft Butchers said: “This is truly remarkable given the challenge it gave Kris.

“This will accelerate the installation and training in the use of defibrillator and CPR in Forfar and a step closer to our objective of having a defibrillator on the wall outside every butcher’s shop in Scotland.”

Lisa MacInnes, director of Save a Life for Scotland added: “The Save a Life for Scotland partnership are proud to support the Butcher’s at the Heart of the community campaign.

“With almost 80 Scottish Craft Butchers now on board, Kris is one of those leading the way. His dedication to his community shows what is possible when butchers inspire and encourage their communities to come together to help each other.”

Pamela Hunter, who runs Hunters of Kinross in Kinross with her husband Iain, is the lead of the ‘Butchers in The Heart of communities’ project.

She said: “We have support from Carol Smillie and The Under Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Ian Duncan whose hoping through time we could take this to every butcher in the UK.”

For more on the campaign visit