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Shielded doc ‘cycles to Scotland and back’ for her NHS colleagues

05 June, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Mary Robertson hopes to complete the 1,500k challenge by her 72nd birthday

MARY Robertson went from being a senior consultant at UCLH to becoming an “almost heart-sink patient” in the same hospital.

She was hit by a “perfect storm” of cancer, septicaemia and a blood clot in her lungs known as a pulmonary embolism.

As a 71-year-old with such serious underlying health conditions, she has had to shield herself in her Angel home during the coronavirus pandemic.

But she has decided she wants to fundraise for her former employers and, after buying a stationary bike to keep fit during the lockdown, she chose to cycle the distance of London to Edinburgh and back.

“UCL and UCLH have been my home since 1978, initially as a doctor and then as a patient,” Ms Robertson said.

“I am hoping to cycle to raise funds specifically for the wellbeing of staff at UCLH who are looking after patients with Covid-19.”

So far she has completed 750k of the 1,500k journey and she hopes to reach the 1,000k mark on Sunday in time to celebrate her 72nd birthday.

Ms Robertson, who was born and brought up in South Africa, has taken on several physical challenges in her life, including circum­navigating the globe by sea and also hitch-hiking alone from the UK to Istanbul.

She said: “Why did I choose to cycle to Scotland? At first, I thought of something sexy like Paris, but I thought that wasn’t enough of a challenge and I had seen that the London to Edinburgh return is one of the toughest cycles on the books, according to the internet.

“Although I think it might have something more to do with all the mountains and rain, so maybe my stationary bike in the mild weather in London won’t quite be the same.”

Ms Robertson added: “I once travelled to Aberdeen to visit the university there. I think it was the coldest I have ever been. They didn’t have water bottles but they gave me a whiskey bottle full of hot water instead.”

So far Ms Robertson has raised more than £3,500.

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