TWO veteran cyclists are proving that age is just a number by cycling
from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for the British Heart
Sisters Sue Gotley, aged 78, and Pam Mann, who will turn 80 in July,
took on the iconic challenge to help fund the charity’s lifesaving
science into heart and circulatory diseases.
Former Abergavenny head teacher Sue, and her sister Pam, set off on 20
May and completed the 1,074 mile trip from the bottom of South-West
England all the way to the tip of Scotland on 8 June, covering more than
50 miles a day on their journey.
To donate to Sue and Pam, visit their JustGiving page here:
“We decided to take on the challenge to celebrate my 80th
birthday and raise money for a fantastic charity in the British Heart
Foundation. These sorts of challenges have always appealed to us and we
believe that being older doesn’t necessarily mean the adventures have to
“Sue and I have been very close since childhood. This was borne out a
few years ago when Sue contracted leukaemia and I became the donor for
her life-saving bone marrow transplant. The doctors said our blood could
not have been more identical if we’d been twins. When the idea for the
ride came up, of course Sue and I wanted to take it on together, as
sisters and lifelong friends.
“We’ve had a few tough hills to climb so far and plenty of good old
English weather. But Sue and I are having a wonderful time, seeing the
country and meeting amazing people, from the hotel proprietor and
ironman expert who helped mend Sue’s bike one morning, to the scarecrow
Queen Elizabeth II complete with her corgis! We’ve both been passionate
about cycling, for health and environmental reasons, and have taken part
in a number of bike tours in the past. This ride is certainly one we
will never forget!”
Pam and Sue have a personal reason for backing the BHF. In 2021, Pam’s
fit and active son Steve suffered a life-threatening heart attack, which
has changed their lives forever.
Steve Mann, 54, from Amersham, was out cycling as part of his training
for a triathlon when he began to feel unwell. He was taken to Stoke
Mandeville Hospital, where he underwent an emergency coronary angiogram. The procedure revealed a blockage in his right coronary artery where a stent was inserted to open the blocked artery.
Over the past year, Steve has overcome many challenges on his road to
recovery, both physically and mentally. But seeing his mum Pam and her
sister Sue, embark on this challenge to help support the lifesaving
research at the BHF has been a huge positive.
“What my mum and Sue have done – cycling over 1,000 miles
carrying all their gear for the entire trip in their cycle panniers, and
especially given their age – is absolutely inspirational. As a family
we couldn’t be prouder of them.”
“For me, the British Heart Foundation has been a beam of light in my
darkest moment. Its work is invaluable for so many families, like ours,
who’ve had family members suffer from heart and circulatory diseases.
They’ve provided so much help and reassurance when we felt at our most
vulnerable and afraid.
“That’s why it is so fitting that my mum and Sue are raising money for
the BHF. It would be great if you could support them on their epic
journey by donating via their JustGiving page.”
The pair have already raised over £5,300 for the BHF and they now hope
with greater awareness about their story, they can boost their total
Nikki James, Area Fundraising Manager for Wales and Northern Ireland at
the British Heart Foundation, said:
“This is such an amazing story. The
determination of Pam and Sue to take on this epic challenge for Pam’s
80th birthday is truly inspiring. We are so grateful to them for
supporting the BHF’s research with this amazing journey.
“It’s fantastic to know that the BHF has been such a support for Steve
on his heart journey. For more than 60 years the public’s generosity has
funded BHF research that has turned ideas that once seemed like ‘science
fiction’ into treatments that save lives every day. But millions of
people are still waiting for the next breakthrough”