An 85-year-old grandmother who a month ago took on a 1,000-mile bike ride in memory of her three children has completed her journey – and has raised nearly £57,000 for charity, almost twice her initial target.
Mavis Paterson, known as Granny Mave, who celebrated her 85th birthday during her ride, set off from Scotland’s most southerly point, Mull of Galloway, close to her home in the southwest of the country, on 29 April.
Her 1,000-mile circular ride took her up the west coast of Scotland to Fort William from where she headed along the shores of Loch Ness on her way to John O’Groats, then heading back via Inverness and Aberdeen towards Fife and ultimately her final destination in Dumfries & Galloway.
She undertook her ride in memory of her three children, who all passed away within the space of four years from 2012-16 when aged in their 40s, two from natural causes and one in an accident.
Mrs Paterson, who holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest woman to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, told the BBC that she struggled to keep her emotions in check as her ride neared its end, with well-wishers waiting to greet her at the Mull of Galloway lighthouse.
“I got stronger and stronger as the challenge went on,” she said. “But on the road to the lighthouse, I was wondering if I was going to be able to finish.
“It wasn’t physically difficult, but it was difficult emotionally knowing that the whole challenge was coming to an end.”
Recalling the toughest moment of her ride, she said: “The most physically challenging part was at Fort William, where I was cycling into dreadful headwinds.
“Crossing a bridge I nearly got swept from a pavement into oncoming traffic.”
Before setting off on her journey last month, Mrs Paterson spoke of how cycling had helped her cope with the loss of her children.
“When I am cycling, I don't think about them so much,” she said, “which is a big help to me because the grief is unbearable.
“When my children died I just didn’t know what to do. But the cycling has helped me a lot.”
Mrs Patterson, who has three adult grandchildren, continued: “I can't go on living my life thinking about them all the time.
“I do think about them a lot but I've got to face life, so I take on the challenges which are a huge help to me. The last one I did was wonderful because it took my mind off of the children.”
She began fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Care after losing her mother and sister to the disease, with her latest ride, in which she covered between 30 and 50 miles a day and was supported by a friend who followed her in a camper van, raising nearly £57,000 against an initial target of £30,000 on Just Giving.
Previously, she raised £60,000 for Macmillan Cancer Care with her record-breaking Land’s End to John O’Groats ride, with Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas among those who donated to her fundraising efforts on that occasion.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.