A UTTOXETER father has completed an epic nocturnal bike ride to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
Phil Heede, of Spencer Close, took to his bike for the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride after experiencing first hand the importance of a healthy heart.
The 49-year-old needed a heart by-pass operation threeand- a-half years ago after it was discovered his main coronary artery was blocked.
He took part in the 52-mile Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride, which is supported by Santander, which hoped to raise £175,000 for the BHF Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.
The appeal aims to spend £50 million to fund groundbreaking research that could literally mend broken hearts.
The married father-of-two, who has so far raised £330 for BHF, said: “It went brilliantly well with more than 1,000 people taking part and it was marvellously organised.
“When we left Uttoxeter the weather was a bit blustery but when we got to the Trafford Centre in Manchester is was a lovely, calm and clear night. It was a fantastic night to do the event, I was hoping for no strong winds.” Night riders started from Barton Square at the Trafford Centre before cycling across Greater Manchester and Lancashire passing through Wigan, Bolton, Chorley, Preston and Lytham St Annes.
The final leg took them alongside the beach in Blackpool under the illuminations before reaching their final destination of Blackpool Tower.
Mr Heede completed the challenge, with a friend, in three hours and 50 minutes which was under his target of four hours.
The operations director, who works for Leisure Technology Limited, said: “I had the operation three-and-a-half years ago but it doesn’t mean you cannot exercise, you just have to build yourself up.
“I feel a lot stronger for having done the ride. I had cycled 10 miles here and there before and the furthest I had done was 43 miles.
“When we came to the front in Blackpool the wind was behind us so it blew us over the finish line.
“I will more than likely do it again next year, I was thinking of maybe doing it with a team.” Mr Heede discovered he had a problem with his heart as he was a regular on the cross trainer at the then Attiva Health Club but instead of increasing his fitness, his time was decreasing until he could only manage four minutes of working out without feeling exhausted.
After having abnormal ECG tests, which records the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity, at his doctor’s surgery and at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital, he was referred to Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital where the blockage was discovered.
Donations for the challenge are still welcome and anyone wanting to sponsor Mr Heede is asked to visit www.justgiving.com/Philip-Heede