A COURAGEOUS Ayr nurse who has successfully battled breast cancer took part in a stamina-sapping 1000-mile charity cycle to help other people fight the disease.

Mother-of-two Maureen Lee-Bourke, a theatre sister based at Ayr Hospital, took part in last month's Women v Cancer End 2 End Women Cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End.

She took 12 days to complete the marathon, which was aimed at raising funds for Breast Cancer Care, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.

The 1012-mile cycle took 12 days to complete.

It was organised to celebrate her survival from breast cancer - three years after she had to abandon a similar venture which would have been on the 10th anniversary of the diagnosis.

She explained: "To celebrate my 10-year survival from breast cancer in 2014, I was supposed to be cycling in Tanzania, fell over handlebars and broke my collarbone so couldn't do it. I then found out about End to End and thought it would be better on British roads. In British weather at least you wouldn't be attacked by horrible bugs.

"I have raised more than £5000 through Just Giving. My husband Al cycled coast-to-coast from Newcastle with another 14 guys and donated money and he was a great support during my training."

She enjoyed the experience and commented: "There were 30 women doing the full thing and 15 who were coming in and out doing a day or three days. We all met in Inverness and took a coach to John O'Groats.

"We averaged 54 miles per day, although the longest in one day was 110. From Lairg to Inverness there were a few steep parts and I struggled with it, I attacked hills with great gusto. We split into different groups and I was in the group who were slow on hills."

But she admitted it was a real fight to the finish and added: "The worst bit was the second last day which was very hilly and it was 100 miles - the day before we did 107 and ended up cycling in the dark. I got to 85 miles, going over hill after hill and felt I couldn't do any more as I struggle with asthma but I carried on. Then on the last day it was fabulous and managed much better thanks to coaching and was shown how to use gears and control my breathing.

Maureen was among a group of 31 ladies taking part in the event. Some were breast cancer or ovarian cancer survivors and others were cycling in memory of people.

"It was a fabulous feeling when we crossed the finish line and I felt quite emotional. There were hugs, tears and snotters.

I struggled in places but if anything went wrong, people would stop and help. There were no mechanical problems or punctures but my chain came off once. One girl did 1000 miles to prepare - she was the best cyclist there. I was Most Improved Cyclist which was good. Thanks to everyone for supporting me," she said.

Maureen would still welcome sponsorship.

Anyone who can help her should log on to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maureen-lee-bourke3