Dawn Stakounis and Sharon Atkinson holding their bikes aloft at John O'Groats
Dawn Stakounis and Sharon Atkinson holding their bikes aloft at John O'Groats

Two Lichfield cycling sisters have completed a 1,000 mile bike ride to raise money for charity.

Dawn Stakounis, 64, and 66-year-old Sharon Atkinson rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The efforts by thepair of pedalling grandmothers, known as the LEJoG Sisters, have raised almost £20,000 for Children with Cancer UK .

The 21 day ride saw the duo – who only took up cycling seven years ago – take to the saddle in memory of Dawn’s son, Christopher, who died from a brain tumour in 1989 when he was just six.

“Christopher was a bright and bubbly boy with a wicked sense of humour. He never complained about life and all the things he had to go through to help him with his battle.

“Sadly, he didn’t survive his cancer but with the continued research and advances in medicines and treatments, more lives can be saved.”

Dawn Stakounis

Every year 1,800 children under the age of 14 are diagnosed with cancer.

Despite improvements in diagnosis, treatment and care, 240 youngsters die every year from their disease, with brain tumours being the most common cause of death.

Ashleigh Davies, from Children with Cancer UK, said:

“We are so grateful to Dawn and Sharon for completing one of the biggest cycling challenges in support of Children with Cancer UK.

“Their commitment to raising funds and awareness for other families experiencing childhood cancer creates an impactful and long-standing legacy for Christopher.”

Ashleigh Davies, Children with Cancer UK

“An incredibly emotional day”

The pair said the challenge had been tough both physically and mentally.

Dawn said the worst day of the ride came as they made their way through the Trough of Bowland in Lancashire.

“That was an incredibly emotional day. The enormity of our challenge hit me, and I just couldn’t stop crying.

“But Sharon was there to comfort and encourage me and we made it through.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of those we’ve met in cafes, hotels and even at the side of the road.

“We’d like to thank everyone who’s stopped to chat to us and given a donation.”

Dawn Stakounis

Despite completing the ride, the sisters said they had mixed emotions after spending more than 12 months preparing for it.

“We’re thrilled to have made it, but it’s tinged with sadness that it’s all over.

“And today our thoughts are filled with memories of our beautiful boy, Christopher. Sadness that he’s not here with us, and happiness remembering the time we had together.

“We did say this would be our last big fundraising challenge, so we’ll have a few days off our bikes – bbut then let’s see.”

Dawn Stakounis

People can still donate to their cause via the sisters’ online fundraising page.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.