81-year-old grandmother becomes oldest woman to complete 960 mile cycle feat

Time and time again we’ve seen that age is no barrier to achieving your dreams, and one woman who has proved this to be true is Mavis Paterson from Dumfries and Galloway.

The 81-year-old grandmother this month became the oldest woman to cycle the Gran-d-Tour, the 960-mile (1,540km) ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, battling through the pain of osteoarthritis to complete her amazing feat.

The challenge is in memory of her three adult children who died four years apart from each other; Sandy in 2012, Katie in 2013 and Bob in 2016 – all of whom were in their forties.

Setting off on the May 24th – alongside her friend Heather Curley – she used grit, determination and a whole lot of pedal power to steam her way to the ‘finish line’ on Saturday June 22nd.

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Mavis smashed through her fundraising target of £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support – a charity that has been on hand to support Mavis after her mother and sister died of the disease.

In total she raised more than £60,000 pounds for the charity, with more than 1,861 supporters donating to the fund who left inspiring messages of encouragement on the Just Giving page:

Image credit: @maviscycle/Twitter

One wrote, “Great achievement Mavis, I’ve done a few things in the past but this is remarkable – well done to you and your support team.”

While another added, “Inspirational feat of endurance. Shocking to think that the incidence of cancer diagnosis in the population is now 1 in 2. Every penny counts for research and McMillan services. Well done Mavis.”

On the dedicated Facebook page for the challenge she told her fans and well wishers, “It’s hard to find the words now. After three weeks of an utterly unforgettable journey. We did it.”

Speaking to the BBC Scotland news website after finishing her cycle, she said she was very tired, before adding, “I feel now it’s all over I’m like ‘what now?’

“The whole journey was very difficult for me. It was hard, but I’ve got his fire in my belly, and I keep pressing on.”

This isn’t the first time Mavis – who has been cycling since 1991 – has taken to two wheels in the name of a good cause.

Last year she took part in a 24-hour cycle challenge around North Rhins on the outskirts of Stranraer, in the northwest of Scotland.

Mavis, we salute you!