Paul Loftus, founder of the annual Fred Whitton Challenge, has received an MBE for services to charitable fundraising via the Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge. This was the first – and is still the toughest – sportive in the UK. The Lake District event was created in 1999. Loftus was the lead organiser for many years but is now the event's president.
The 112-mile ride's lead charity is Macmillan Cancer Support, with donations also made to Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue and the North West Air Ambulance. 2000 riders tackle every major climb in the Lake District, including Hardknott at the 98-mile point – this has a 30 percent gradient in sections. Fred Whitton was a riding friend of Paul’s who died from cancer in 1998 at the age of 50.
"The Fred" raises hundreds of thousands of pounds each year for charity.