Two professional musicians from Bedford have pedalled their tandem from London to Brighton for the British Heart Foundation.
Tim and Irene Grant-Jones made the 54-mile ride along with 16,000 other cyclists, on Sunday, June 17, with more than £500 raised so far.
Classical soprano Irene and her pianist husband Tim wanted to support a cause that is close to them. They spent time training while working, performing and looking after grandchildren.
Upon finishing their cycle, Irene “sang her heart out” on Brighton’s seafront by performing a famous opera aria set to her own lyrics, accompanied by Tim, to raise awareness of the work the British Heart Foundation do.
At 19, in the year Irene was accepted to study singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London, her family were devastated through the sudden death of her father David Owen, who suffered a massive heart attack aged 55.
Irene’s mother, Inez Owen, died aged 84 where her heart simply stopped beating. Irene herself manages a heart condition called Atrial fibrillation which is sometimes called AFib or AF for short, meaning she has a quivering or irregular heartbeat.
Irene said: “I have a heart condition myself and ever since I was diagnosed, I have been determined to continue living life to the full. The last thing I wanted was for it to prevent me from continuing on as normal. I manage it through regular activity, breathing exercises and having a healthy diet – most of the time! I take the advice I give to my own singing students; focus, live in the moment and enjoy every minute.”
The couple bought their first tandem in 1977 and rode from London to Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales for a wedding. They then continued on through the Brecon Beacons, through Blaenau Ffestiniog and on to Irene’s hometown, Rhyl, in North Wales.
Tim said: “It was one of the best holidays we’ve ever experienced. Panniers were a bit of a luxury in those days, so a small evacuation suitcase was strapped to the back!”
To donate visit https://www.grant-jones.co.uk/news-1