A GROUP of Cheshire fitness enthusiasts have been described as 'selfless' and 'brave' for taking on one of the UK's toughest outdoor challenges to support a family's fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

The Tilston Trotters, a group of six 40-somethings runners from Tilston and Malpas, will be tackling Pedal Paddle Peak 2022, a charity challenge in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK, which kicks off in Penrith, Cumbria, on Saturday, July 2.

The team will compete against others to cycle 30 hilly miles, paddle canoes across Ullswater Lake for two miles and then climb England’s second highest mountain, Helvellyn.

They aim to raise £4,000 for a family fund set up by the parents of Thomas Robinson, 15, from Crewe, who lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare, progressive and life-limiting muscle-wasting condition that currently has no cure.

Thomas's mum, Karen Robinson, said: “The Tilston Trotters are very brave to be taking on such an extraordinary challenge! We feel very privileged that they have chosen to support our family fund and ultimately our amazing superhero Thomas.”

“We have specifically requested that funds raised be donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Duchenne Research Breakthrough Fund, to accelerate the development of effective treatments for Duchenne,” added Karen Robinson, a website designer.

The adventurous six are Doug Buckeridge, his wife, Kate, Jo Mulligan, Mary Richardson, Simon Richardson and Tony Clare – who are all in their late 40s and early 50s.

Trotters Tony, left, and Mary in red and blue, along with revellers at the 80s disco fundraiser.

Trotters Tony, left, and Mary in red and blue, along with revellers at the 80s disco fundraiser.

The Tilston Trotters is a 20-strong running group, but not all will be heading to Cumbria for the gruelling eight-hour challenge.

Doug Buckeridge, the team captain, said: “I don’t know how I’m going to get up Helvellyn, but I’m looking forward to it. The last time I went up there it was 1987 and I was a sixth former on a geography field trip!”

The Trotters have already hit the £3,500 mark by hosting local events in their villages, including an 80s disco night, where Doug, Kate, Mary and Tony dressed up as pop group Bucks Fizz and pulled off the famous Eurovision dance routine, complete with detachable skirts.

Douglas, 51, a quantity surveyor from Malpas, added: "The charity put us in touch with Tom and his mum Karen and dad Neil, as we were keen to put a face to the cause.

“Four of us Trotters went to Crewe to visit the family and we spent almost three hours together. They were lovely. Meeting Thomas gave us such a boost – he is such a bubbly character and he really inspired us.

"Karen and Neil have a Family Fund for Thomas, which means they can choose how Muscular Dystrophy UK will use the funds raised. It feels great to be raising money in his name.”

Thomas’s family is planning to travel up to the Lakes in their motorhome to cheer on the team.

“It was great to meet such a fantastic group of selfless people who are willing to give up their spare time to help fundraise," said Karen. "Thomas really enjoyed meeting them and got to show them his enormous collection of Hot Wheels cars!"

Pedal Paddle Peak is Muscular Dystrophy UK's own annual event. The charity supports people living with more than 60 different muscle-wasting conditions, as well as funding scientific research to develop medical treatments and ultimately a cure. More than 110,000 people in the UK live with muscle -wasting conditions.

Kiera Santry, senior challenge events officer at Muscular Dystrophy UK, organises the event. She said: “We were delighted to introduce the Tilston Trotters to Thomas and his family, so they could see for themselves the difference they could make to someone’s life by taking on Pedal Paddle Peak.

“We’re excited to welcome the Tilston Trotters to the Lakes for this year’s event and applaud all their fundraising efforts.

“Since we first launched Pedal Paddle Peak in 2016, the event has raised over £300,000 to help beat muscle-wasting conditions. There are 130 participants taking part this year, including Doug and his team, and we’ll be there cheering them on!”

Tilston Trotters helped raise £1100 with their Bucks Fizz homage at Tilston Village Hall.

Tilston Trotters helped raise £1100 with their Bucks Fizz homage at Tilston Village Hall.

As well as the 80s disco night, fundraising events the six Trotters have held include a classical musical evening, organised by Jo and Tony, which raised £550. Mary, a nurse and personal trainer, from Tilston, held a three-hour aerobathon in her local village hall which brought in £500.

Doug said: “It was a great night and we raised £1,100. An added highlight was when one of the Ukrainian refugees we have welcomed to the village told me he didn’t know people our age could have so much fun!”

The Trotters have also created a support hub to help sponsor refugees to come to the area.

"We’ve got 120 people in the group now from various local villages – and have welcomed 21 Ukrainian refugees in the area," added Doug.

“We are all passionate about making a difference – as well as trying something new and different, so Pedal Paddle Peak is ideal!

“We’ve booked a cottage for the six of us with a hot tub – something the ladies are very pleased about!” Doug added.