Page last updated at 08:40 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 09:40 UK

Cycle marathon grannies set off

Penny Weir and Mavis Paterson
Penny Weir and Mavis Paterson set off for Canada on Sunday

Two Scottish grandmothers have set off on a 6,000-mile charity cycling marathon across Canada.

Mavis Paterson, 69, from Dumfries and Galloway, and Penny Weir, 70, from Aviemore, hope to complete their mission in four months.

The fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support has been timed to coincide with Mrs Paterson's 70th birthday this year.

The duo aim to cycle coast-to-coast and will sleep in tents which they will carry on their bikes.

"I wanted to do something different to celebrate my birthday on 24 May," said Mrs Paterson, from Auchenmalg in Dumfries and Galloway.

We've had a really amazing reaction from everyone who has heard about our trip
Penny Weir

"I think most people would agree that setting off on a 6,000-mile cycle trip is definitely different!

"Sometimes the scale of the distance we're going to cover does seem a bit daunting, but I think we're going to have a completely fantastic time."

Mrs Weir was also looking forward to the trip before they flew out to Canada on Sunday.

"We've had a really amazing reaction from everyone who has heard about our trip," she said.

"People have said we're inspirational which is an amazing compliment.

"I don't think either of us thought we were doing anything all that fantastic, but it seems that as well as raising money for Macmillan, we're also showing that life doesn't stop at 70!"

'Real inspiration'

The pair set off from Vancouver on Monday and hope to finish in Newfoundland in September.

They have already raised about 5,000 and all the money raised from the trip will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity's director, Elspeth Atkinson, wished the two grandmothers well.

"Both women are a real inspiration," she said.

"We are very grateful they have decided to take on such a huge challenge to raise money to help Macmillan support people affected by cancer."

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