81-year-old Mavis Paterson, from Auchenmalg in Dumfries and Galloway, has become the oldest woman to cycle from Lands End to John o’Groats.
As well as setting the new record she is raising money for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity in memory of her four children, tragically all of whom died in their 40’s within four years of each other. She completed her 960-mile route in just over three weeks, setting off on May 24th and finishing on the 22nd of June.
Despite this not being Mavis’s first cycling accomplishment - when she was 70 she cycled across Canada - she said that she didn’t realise how hard it would be. Those who were in the UK during that period will remember how much severe rain there was during that time, which made riding conditions extremely difficult. Were it not for the incredible support she received she is not sure she would have completed the ride. But she found taking on the challenge therapeutic when dealing with the grief of losing her children. Speaking about that, Mavis said “I will never be able to forget what’s happened, but I can take my mind off the children because the support and company has been amazing and I can think of other things.”
Mavis’s friend Heather Curly accompanied her on the ride and according to Mavis was responsible for setting the ride up. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Heather”, she said.
Mavis’s Just Giving page, through which she has raised in excess of £50,000, can be found here