Belfast Telegraph

David off on 1,000-mile cycle months after fundraiser halted by heart surgery

David Blair all geared up
David Blair all geared up
David out on the road

By David Reed

A Co Antrim man who went through open heart surgery just five months ago is taking on a 1,000-mile charity cycle challenge.

David Blair plans to cycle from the most southerly point in England to the most northerly location in Scotland in August.

The 60-year-old from Carrickfergus was to complete the challenge last year to coincide with his 60th birthday but his plans were halted after a routine check-up with the doctor.

He explained: "In June 2018 I was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, severe aortic stenosis, and was instructed by my cardiologist to stop cycling.

"I was placed on the urgent waiting list for open heart surgery.

"In December 2018 I underwent the surgery and had aortic valve replacement, but by January 2019 I was back on my bike determined to get fit enough to complete the challenge."

Before David was told he needed an op he had already raised almost £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Zoe's Place Baby Hospice in Liverpool.

Now his goal is to finish what he started.

He added: "I wanted to keep my part of the deal to everyone that had made the generous donations to the nominated charities.

"So here we go again. I have booked to complete the challenge in August, the challenge has now got a little bit more interesting as I will be 61 years of age and be eight months post-open heart surgery. So no excuses."

David will cycle from Lands' End to John O'Groats - a distance of just under 1,000 miles.

He'll start the cycle on August 21 and plans to complete it within 10 days. David is a customer services officer in Carrickfergus Amphitheatre, which falls under the remit of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Its chief executive Anne Donaghy praised the intrepid cyclist.

She said: "I totally admire David, who is an inspiration to many of us. My sister died from ovarian cancer and to do something like this is such a special gift to others.

"When my sister was battling the disease she said she would give everything she owned for one day of 'normal' life.

"I thank David for raising much-needed funds for two vital charities."

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