A grandmother of eight, from Suffolk, is preparing to cycle around the UK coast with her faithful companion, seven-year-old golden retriever Oscar, to raise £25,000 for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal charity and blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

65-year-old Maggie Scorer will embark on her 5000-mile ‘Dog on Tour’ challenge on 14 March, setting off from Aldeburgh with Oscar in tow in a purpose built Dutch ‘Doggie-ride’ trailer. Though she and Oscar have previously sailed half way around the world together, Maggie will be swapping sails for the saddle as she circumnavigates the coasts of England and Scotland over the next six months.

Maggie has chosen to support Sands and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research as she has been closely affected by both stillbirth and blood cancer.

Maggie is supporting Sands so that the charity can continue to provide bereavement support for families, who have experienced the death of a baby, throughout the UK. Maggie gave birth to a stillborn baby in 1977; a time when many bereaved parents did not feel supported or that their grief was acknowledged.

Five years ago Maggie’s son-in-law Dan Turnball, who has been paraplegic since he was two years old, was diagnosed with the blood disorder Myelofibrosis. Symptoms associated with the disease include fatigue, infections and anaemia; the latter of which Dan had been regularly experiencing. After undergoing chemotherapy and a life-saving stem cell transplant in March 2014, he is now in remission.

Although she has previously cycled the Great Wall of China, Maggie expects this two-wheeled challenge to be her toughest to date:

“This will really push me to the limit. I’m going to take my time and take in the scenery but I’d like to finish by September. Having friends and family, including Dan, join me for stretches of the ride will really motivate me and provide great company, for Oscar as well as myself!”, she continues.

Carolyn Bray, Fundraising Manager at Sands, says: “Our dedicated supporters at Sands never fail to amaze us with their creative and challenging fundraising ideas. Maggie is certainly no different; to cycle the whole way around the British coast is fantastic and to do it with her dog Oscar is even better. It is people like Maggie that allow Sands to continue to support anyone affected by the death of a baby, work with health professionals to improve bereavement care and promote research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives”.

Caitlin O’Neill, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s Fundraising Manager for London and the South East, said: “What Maggie has set out to achieve is remarkable. We are grateful she has chosen to support Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Every penny she raises will help us in our mission to beat blood cancer - stopping people from dying and making patients’ lives better. We wish her all the best with her challenge.”  

Maggie’s grand departure from Aldeburgh on the 14th March at 9am. Media and supporters are invited to this event.

To support Maggie visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MaggieScorer

To follow Maggie’s journey visit www.dogontour.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/dogontourmaggie

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Please see below for an estimated itinerary for Maggie’s trip. Please only use as an approximate guide.

Phase 1 (14/03/15-19/03/15)

Aldeburgh (Suffolk)- Dersingham

Phase 2 (21/03/15-26/03/15)

Dersingham- Scarborough

Phase 3 (28/03/15- 02/04/15)

Scarborough- Ellingham

Phase 4 (07/04/15-09/05/15)

Ellingham (via Banborough head – Edinburgh

Phase 5 (12/04/15-17/04/15)

Edinburgh- Aberdeen

Phase 6 (20/04/15-26/04/15)

Aberdeen- Nairn

Phase 7 (27/04/15-30/04/15)

Nairn- Dornach

Phase 8 (06/05/15-10/05/15)

Dornach- Betty Hill

Phase 9 (11/05/15-17/05/15)

Betty Hill- Stornoway

Phase 10 (18/05/15-24/05/15)

Stornoway- Mallaig

Phase 11 (25/05/15- 31/05/15)

Mallaig- Argyll

Phase 12 (01/06/15-07/06/15)

Argyll- Girvan

Phase 13 (08/06/15- 12/06/15)

Girvan- Dalbeattie

Phase 14 (14/06/15- 20/06/15)

Dalbeattie- Blackpool

Phase 15 (22/06/15- 28/06/15)

Blackpool- Bangor

Phase 16 (30/06/15- 05/07/15)

Bangor- Aberaeron

Phase 17 (06/07/15-12/07/15)

Aberaeron- St Clears (Carnarthenshire)

Phase 18 (13/07/15- 15/07/15)

St Clears (Carnarthenshire)- Swansea

Phase 19 (17/07/15-22/07/15)

Swansea- Portishead (Somerset)

Phase 20 (25/07/15-01/08/15)

Portishead (Somerset)- Bude (Cornwall)

Phase 21 (03/08/15- 08/08/15)

Bude (Cornwall)- Lands End via St. Just

Phase 22 (10/08/15- 14/08/15)

Lands End – Looe via Fowey

Phase 23 (16/08/15-21/08/15)

Looe- Lyme Regis (Dorset)

Phase 24 (23/08/15- 30/08/15)

Lyme Regis (Dorset) – Brighton (via Bangor)

Phase 25 (31/08/15-06/09/15)

Brighton- Gravesend and Tilbury Ferry

Phase 26 (08/09/15- 13/09/15)

Gravesend and Tilbury Ferry- Aldeburgh via Felixstowe and Butley Ferries

For further information, please contact:

Natalie Cooper, Sands Press & PR Officer on 0203 598 1959 or email: Natalie.cooper@uk_sands.org

Stephanie Cade at the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Press Office on 020 7504 2247 or email: scade@beatingbloodcancers.org.uk  

About Sands: Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, was established by bereaved parents in 1978 and obtained charity status in 1981. Sands core aims are to support anyone affected by the death of a baby; to work in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families; and to promote research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. Sands is a national organisation, with over 100 regional support groups across the UK.

Helpline: 020 7436 5881

Office: 020 7436 7940

Web: www.uk-sands.org

E mail: info@uk-sands.org

About Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is a leading UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of patients with all types of blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Its life-saving work is focused on finding causes, improving diagnosis and treatments, and running groundbreaking clinical trials for all blood cancer patients.

The charity champions patients’ needs by influencing relevant policy and decision makers. Its communities give blood cancer patients and their families a place where they can find support and information and share their journey with other people who can relate to what they are going through.

Around 38,000 people of all ages, from children to adults, are diagnosed with blood cancers and related disorders every year in the UK. For more information visit beatingbloodcancers.org.uk