You take the high road, we’ll take the cycle paths

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A married couple from Milton Keynes are coming back down to earth this week after raising almost £10,000 for charity by cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Elly and Matt Cooper cycled 976 miles from the south west of England to the north east of Scotland over 12 days to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The charity helped support Elly’s mother, Julie Eldridge, after she was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus.

However, the intrepid duo’s fundraising exploits suffered a big blow before they even set off for Cornwall as a collection box at Milton Keynes Hospital was stolen.

But they still raised £9,500 before they reached the finish line on Monday, bringing to an end a very emotional, and extremely tiring, year for the couple.

Elly, 32, said: “It was easily the toughest challenge, both physically and mentally, that either of us has ever undertaken. We are both exhausted but so proud of ourselves.

“We spent 15 months or so training hard and fundraising alongside our full time jobs, and having never even sat on a road bike before February, but we cycled 976 miles from one end of Britain to the other.

“There were times when we thought we couldn’t do it, thought we wouldn’t make it, but together we pushed ourselves to the limit and we did it.”

The missing charity box never did show up, but staff at the hospital were so horrified about the theft that there was more than £50 in the new one the very next day.