A grandma from Twickenham has raised almost £1 million for children in care over 21 years of supporting a charity with fundraiser bike rides.

Gill Timmis, a mum of three and grandmother of seven, has also been awarded an MBE for her fundraising efforts for children in the UK and abroad.

On June 23, 71-year-old Gill set off on a 200-mile journey from Durham to York to raise money for the charity Become, which supports children in care and young care leavers.

The challenge took three and a half days and Gill was joined by 51 other cyclists and nine support team members.

They arrived at their destination on June 26 and the team raised more than £30,000 for Become this year.

Donations are still being accepted on their JustGiving page.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Gill and the team at the park gatesGill and the team at the park gates

This is Gill's 21st fundraising bike ride, as she has supported Become for an impressive 21 years.

Gill is close to reaching her £1 million lifetime fundraising target for the charity.

She remembers her first charity bike ride for children in care back in 2001, which was a 1,100-mile journey from John o’ Groats in Scotland to Land’s End, Cornwall.

This is when she decided to set up her own fundraising group called Biking for Children in Care (BfCiC), to raise funds for the Who Cares? Trust, the charity that later became Become.

Gill explained: “I had done a couple of bike rides for another charity but wanted to get a group together to fundraise for a cause I really cared about, which was children in care.

“I found The Who Cares? Trust, as it was called then.

“It was a small charity, set up by Tory Laughland, who was also a social worker concerned about children in care and wanting to improve prospects for them.

“She, like me, had started out sitting round her kitchen table with friends and working out how to make a difference.

“These kids are out there and are often struggling; it can be hard to effect any change for them. Become fights to reach them, get their voices heard and support them.

“It wants children in care to know it is there for them - as is the BfCiC.

“The bike rides are not just about me but about all the people who have joined to plan and bike and fundraise to make a difference for this group of young people going through life with such limited support.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Gills first charity bike rideGills first charity bike ride

Katharine Sacks-Jones, CEO of Become, explained that she is immensely grateful to Gill and BfCiC for their continued support over the years.

Katharine said: “Gill and BfCiC have been an incredible supporter of our organisation, in both raising awareness of the issues faced by children in care and for raising money, which has helped fund our Care Advice Line and coaching for young care-experienced people, as well as our campaigning work.

“Her 21st fundraiser for Become is incredibly important in light of the recently published Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.

“Biking For Children in Care’s efforts help us sustain our campaigning and lobbying as we work to ensure the government commits to improving the care system, putting care experienced young people at the centre of reform, and ensuring there is enough funding to enable to seismic change that’s so desperately needed.”