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Chilworth’s Cycling McKenzies Finish Epic Fundraiser at John O’ Groats

Published on: 11 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 13 Aug, 2020

Mission accomplished the McKenzies pose for the traditional shot by the John O’Groats signpost. (Left to right: Kenny, Calum, Ellis and Karen.)

The McKenzie family cycling the length of Scotland for a charity close to their hearts have finished at John O’ Groats exhausted but delighted because they have raised three times their target.

The family, from Chilworth, near Guildford, took 12 days to cycle the 476 miles from Gretna Green, driven on by wanting to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust which has helped greatly extend the life of their close relative.

Calum takes on some fuel for the next stretch while in the background is the remote beauty of the Highlands.

Highly emotional, that family member congratulated Ellis, 15, and Calum, 13, and their parents Kenny, 49, an IT consultant, and Karen, at the celebration party.

Karen said: “Our relative was so proud and had special hugs for the children, telling them they were awesome.” The CF Trust funded development of drugs which have “massively benefited” their relative.

Karen, who drove the support car as well as doing some of the cycling, was at John O’Groats on Sunday (August 9) with the family dog, Bailey, to greet Kenny, Ellis and Calum at the end of their journey.

The route included hard and hilly riding. Adding up all their uphill cycling gives a total of 24,713ft, higher than Mount Kilimanjaro.

“At John O’Groats it was really windy,” Karen said. “They were just so happy to finish and tired. They were delighted when I told them we’d raised £7,500, completely beyond our expectations.

The Mckenzies are proud of their two teenage children Ellis and Calum who insisted on completing the task even in the worst weather.

“We’re so proud of Ellis and Calum. We don’t know where they got their determination from.”

The hardest day was the longest, 60 miles to Aviemore. “The wind was so fierce I could barely stand up,” said Karen.

Flat out, Calum takes a break. Luckily traffic is light in the north of Scotland.

“I met them at the halfway point that day. They were absolutely drenched and so cold. They jumped in the car to eat their soggy sandwiches. I had the heating on full blast and their teeth were chattering.

“I tried to persuade them to give up for the day but they were determined to carry on. They jumped back onto their bikes in the driving rain and howling wind and off they went.”

They arrived at their B&B soaked and cold but in high spirits. Ellis had come off her bike and was a bit bruised and muddy. The B&B owners washed and dried all their wet gear, made a donation to the Trust and gave them haggis for breakfast.

Other big morale boosts came when the youngsters’ godfather and aunt joined in the cycling and when relatives saw them off on some days.

In their bright yellow CFT tops, the riders made an arresting sight. Many people stopped to talk, make donations and give encouragement. One couple who lost a son to cystic fibrosis gave them £500. “It was such an emotional experience, I absolutely sobbed,” said Karen.

Ellis and Calum are students at Duke of Kent School, Ewhurst, near Guildford.

To help their fundraising, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mckenzie-k

To follow their journey go to: https://facebook.com/karen.mckenzie.94651

See also: McKenzie Cycle Wheels Meet Real Horsepower on Epic Ride to Help Charity

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