Teaching assistants cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats

Marilyn and Fred Pate who are to cycle from Lands End to John O Groats in aid of the Ridgwood Community High School minibus appeal.'Photo Ben Parsons
Marilyn and Fred Pate who are to cycle from Lands End to John O Groats in aid of the Ridgwood Community High School minibus appeal.'Photo Ben Parsons

A DEDICATED duo showed they had real pedal power by cycling the entire length of Great Britain.

Fred and Marilyn Pate, both teaching assistants at Ridgewood Community High School, pedalled almost 1,000 miles from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’ Groats on the northern tip of Scotland.

Fred (62) Marilyn (61) did the mammoth 15-day ride to raise money for the school’s minibus fund and muscular dystrophy charity Action Duchenne.

The pair were joined on the journey by their son Richard and his partner Helen and friends and family along with other friends and family members who cycled with them through different legs of the ride.

Setting off from the southern-most tip of Britain, Fred, Marilyn and Richard cycled between 60 and 70 miles a day stopping off at campsites along the way.

They travelled through Cornwall and Devon then up through Wales and Cheshire until they made it to Bolton-le-Sands near Carnforth in just seven days.

Fred said: “The whole ride was amazing but the best leg was from Acton Bridge to Bolton-le-Sands. One of the teachers from the school came down and rode with us along that leg and my middle son and grandson rode 60 miles just to come and see us. Another family friend even joined us at Garstang on the ride. It was a really special day.”

From Lancashire they rode on to Carlisle and up through Scotland passing some of the most breathtaking scenery in Britain including Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and Glen Coe.

Finally, after the 957-mile slog, they made it to a very wet and cold John O’Groats in Northern Scotland – amazingly without a single puncture or incident.

“It was the wettest and coldest part of the whole trip. We were absolutely freezing when we got there but we achieved an ambition that we have wanted to achieve for a long time.

“The whole ride was brilliant. We met some fantastic people. The camaraderie between riders was really good.”

So far the couple have raised around £1,000 from the ride, half of which will go to help in Ridgewood’s campaign for a new minibus.

Fred added: “The school really needs a new minibus. It is a lovely school and the children get so much out of it. Without this minibus they would be unable to do any of the extra activities on the curriculum. It is so important to the school and the children’s education.”