A GRANDMOTHER is cycling the length of Britain in memory of her three children who died within four years of each other.

Mavis Paterson, 81, who lives near Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway, set out yesterday from Land’s End and aims to reach John O’Groats in around three weeks.

The Guinness Book of Records has confirmed the 81-year-old will become the oldest woman to complete the 960-mile route.

She hopes to raise £20,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity she started to support after her mother and sister died from the illness.

Paterson said: “I’m excited and a little bit nervous about getting started, however it’s something I really want to do.

“It will be nice to get the world record, but for me I’m doing it to raise money for Macmillan and because cycling and taking on big challenges help me cope with the unimaginable grief of losing my children. It’s impossibly hard going from being part of a family of five to being alone, but taking on challenges like this that keep me going, and I’m happy I can do it to raise money for Macmillan.”

Paterson’s children died within four years of each other while all in their 40s, Sandy died of a heart attack in 2012, Katie after suffering viral pneumonia in 2013 and Bob in an accident in 2016.

She said: “I’ve taken on big challenges before, but this will be the toughest. I really hope people consider donating to help me meet my £20,000 target."

Paterson, who has trained intensively, and her cycling companion Heather Curley, 55, plan to cycle 50-60 miles a day.

They will sleep in a specially-designed campervan provided by Scottish firm Tunnock’s which will follow them en route stocked with supplies.

Macmillan staff and volunteers will join them for parts of the ride.

Donations can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/mavis-paterson1.