MELANIE Hopkins has raised hundreds of pounds for cancer services since her mother lost her breast cancer fight a decade ago.

Today, 52-year-old Melanie sets out on her latest fundraising adventure: an epic 1,000 mile cycle ride across Britain from Lands End to John O’Groats in aid of Brighter Futures.

The Royal Wootton Bassett Academy receptionist, who is taking on the challenge with her husband and two friends, hopes to raise £5,000 for the cancer screening service at Great Western Hospital.

The cause is close to her heart.

This year, a close friend and mother-of-three was diagnosed with breast cancer. The pal, with whom Melanie ran last weekend's Race for Life, is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Melanie's mum, Joan Jones, battled breast cancer for three years. Her death, aged 78, “left a massive hole in my life”, Melanie said.

But the treatment mum Joan received in hospital made Melanie determined to do something positive: “We had such wonderful people around us who supported us, I felt I needed to do something to help them help others.”

Shortly after her mother’s death, Melanie took on her first triathlon. She learned to swim and to run: “I could barely swim a length.”

At school, she’d sell sweets to visitors and staff to raise cash for the hospital.

Now, she’s heading out on a nine day pedal-powered push across Britain.

Joining her will be husband Malcolm, 48, and his work colleagues Steve Scammell and Emma Cooper. Royal Wootton Bassett Academy is lending them a van to use as a support vehicle, while two more friends, Carole Elliott and Sue Corrigan, are taking time off work to back up the Lands End to John O’Groats cycle.

Melanie said: “My husband is a very keen cyclist and I started cycling more seriously after my mum died.

“But I never dreamed I would be doing something like this. It’s a massive commitment and I don’t want to let anyone down.”

She’s been in serious training, clocking up around 3,000 miles since January and heading out on practice rides six days a week.

And it’s the support that has kept her going: “The most exciting thing for me is just the support I’m getting from people. They understand why we’re doing it.

“I’m hoping the weather’s going to be kind to us.”

To sponsor Melanie, visit: For more about Brighter Futures, visit: