Deborah Malin is urging us all to get on our bikes as she clocks up 10 years of taking on the London to Brighton.
A Brighton resident is fronting a British Heart Foundation campaign to promote the charity’s calendar of challenge events, which helps to fund life saving research into heart disease.
Deborah Malin, 61, is supporting the campaign after being one of 50,000 people to sign up to do a challenge event for the BHF last year, raising a total of £9million. Deborah became a BHF champion by successfully completing the London to Brighton Bike Ride 10 times since 2007 in memory of her father, who suddenly passed away from a heart attack in 2001.
Deborah’s father, Tony, died unexpectedly when he was 58 and Deborah was just 25. In the UK, there are nearly 200,000 hospital visits each year due to heart attacks: that's one every three minutes.
The BHF’s London to Brighton Bike Ride, which is Europe’s oldest charity bike ride, is one of a calendar of over 70 events taking place across the UK this year, including runs, treks, swims and cycle rides. Deborah is now encouraging others to become a champion for the BHF by taking on a similar challenge.
Deborah explains: “From the age of 51 I’ve made the journey up to London every year for the BHF’s London to Brighton Bike ride. I love doing the event, not only because it is a great way to increase my fitness, but because it holds a special place in my heart.
“While I grew up in South London, I would spend Sundays in Brighton with my family as a young child and as the London to Brighton Bike Ride coincides with Father’s Day, it really is the perfect chance to take the time to think about my dad and feel closer to him.
“I have seen first-hand how much the event has grown into what it is today, with more and more people signing up to participate each year. Starting out as a lone rider in 2007, the event is now a family occasion, with my husband and children riding alongside me - something I hope will carry on when I’m no longer able to participate.
“What is so inspiring about the event is that every single person who participates has something in common and a story to tell. I am proud to see the London to Brighton Bike Ride become a movement; a wave of individuals sharing their experiences with cardiovascular disease through cycling.”
Liz Tack, Event Lead at the London to Brighton Bike Ride, said: “Without the dedication and commitment of people like Deborah and her family, we wouldn’t be able to fund research that has broken new ground, revolutionised treatments and transformed the lives of millions of people in the UK.
“Around 23,000 people in Brighton and Hove are currently living with heart and circulatory disease and it is responsible for over 21,000 deaths in the South East each year. By becoming a BHF champion and signing up to one of our challenge events, we can one day stop heart disease in its tracks.”
The London to Brighton Bike Ride, which takes place on the 17th June, sees thousands of riders of all abilities take on a 54 mile event through the Surrey and Sussex countryside, starting at Clapham Common and ending at the seafront in Brighton. To find out more about the BHF’s challenge events, visit www.bhf.org.uk/events
Find out here how to get involved in the London to Brighton BHF ride