An 81-year-old widow has become the oldest woman in the world to cycle the length of Britain. Mavis Paterson arrived in John O’Groats in Scotland on June 22 – 24 days after setting off from Land’s End with her friend Heather Curley.
Her epic, 1,027-mile journey not only raised almost £30,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, but it also earned her a place in the Guinness Book of Records - and the respect of the world's greatest cycling team.
Team INEOS, had sent Mavis a message of support via Twitter as they trained for this year's Tour de France.
"We heard you were doing an even tougher challenge and we wanted to wish you good luck," said Wout Poels during a training ride in Tenerife with teammates Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. "We believe in you, so smash them."
INEOS had agreed to donate £10,000 to Mavis’ chosen charity after being inspired by her story. And during the race, Team INEOS was on hand to help if needed.
Mavis was cycling in memory of her three adult children, Sandy, Katie and Bob, who died within four years of each other. All three were in their 40s. “It’s impossibly hard going from being part of a family of five to being alone,” she said. “But taking on challenges like this, keeps me going.”
As she rode into John O’Groats, sporting the Team INEOS kit, she was clearly relieved it was all over.
She had earlier told BBC Breakfast: “I wanted to give up so many times. It really has been so hard. I didn’t realise it was going to be so difficult.”
She was full of praise for INEOS, which had also provided her with a replacement satnav for her bike so she did not get lost. “I just cannot thank INEOS enough for the support they have given us,” she said. “They’re wonderful.”
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