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Meet 85-Year-Old Granny who Cycled her Way out of Grief

For Mavis Paterson, affectionately known as “Granny Mave,” cycling is more than just a hobby. It’s a vital part of her life and a way to cope with profound loss. Having tragically lost all three of her adult children within four years, cycling has become a source of solace and a reason to keep going.


In a touching tribute to her children, Paterson embarked on a remarkable challenge in May, cycling 1,000 miles around Scotland. Starting from the Mull of Galloway, she traced the country’s outline. All the while, spreading awareness and raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, a cause close to her heart.

Mavis Paterson, Granny Mave.
Mavis Paterson, Granny Mave. Photo| Courtesy

Despite the challenging terrain, unpredictable weather, and demanding daily mileage of up to 50 miles, Paterson persevered. She was fuelled by her determination to honor her children’s memory and make a difference for those battling cancer. Along her journey, fellow cyclists offered tremendous support, embodying the true spirit of companionship in the cycling community.

“If I didn’t have my bicycle, and this is terrible to say, I don’t think I would want to live. To lose your complete family, it’s just unbelievable. My daughter once said, because one of her friends had died, and she said: ‘Oh mum, imagine losing a child.’ I said: ‘I know. I couldn’t imagine it.’ All mine have gone.”

Mavis Paterson (Granny Mave)

At 85 years old, Paterson’s tenacity inspires not only fellow cyclists but also those facing adversity. Granny Mave’s passion for cycling began when knee problems led her to transition from running marathons to cycling challenges. In 2019, she made history by cycling the length of Great Britain, setting a record as the oldest woman to complete the iconic route.

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With each challenge she undertakes, Paterson raises funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. As a result, she has surpassed her fundraising targets and demonstrated the generosity of people inspired by her journey. Her dedication to training and pushing her limits prove that age is no barrier to pursuing one’s passion and contributing to a greater cause.

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“I know people have got on their bikes and thought, ‘If that old lady can do it, I can do it.’ And also people who have been a bit depressed and thought, ‘Oh gosh, I shouldn’t be like this. Look at poor Mave, she’s lost all her children.’ So a lot of people have taken up cycling because of my cycle rides and just inspired people apparently. People keep saying that I’m an inspiration. Well, if I am that’s great, I’m happy about that.”

Mavis Paterson (Granny Mave)

Looking ahead, Paterson plans to continue her endurance challenges. Riding in memory of her children and inspiring others to embrace the joys of cycling and the strength of the human spirit.


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