A KINGSTON St Mary woman is to cycle the length of the country in memory of her father.

Jennie Stevenson, 50, will ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

She has been motivated to take on the challenge following the death of her father, the Rev Jeff Armitstead, who died from heart related problems in February at the age of 88.

Jennie said: “My dad had his first heart attack when he was just 45, and he had heart problems over the last 30 years of his life.

“Five years ago, he had another heart attack whilst riding his bike and had a defibrillator fitted.

"He had a lot of complications, but if it wasn’t for the excellent care he received, and the scientific advances he was able to benefit from, he wouldn’t have been part of my family’s life for so many years.”

Jennie will be accompanied on the ride by her husband, Andy, a Quantock Ranger.

Jennie and her husband Andy Stevenson

Jennie and her husband Andy Stevenson

They will begin their 900-mile journey on Sunday (June 13).

Their decision to take on the cycling challenge was inspired by her father’s love of the outdoors and cycling.

Jennie said: “Dad was a keen cyclist throughout his life. As a young man he spent many a happy hour cycling through the Lake District, and he was still going out on his bike until the last two years of his life.

“Cycling was a real passion for him, and he loved the challenge of adventure.

"So, after he died, the idea of cycling from one end of the country to the other seemed like a fitting tribute.

“This will be the first long cycle ride that I’ve done. It is going to take two weeks to complete, and we’ve been training to prepare ourselves for the physical challenge. If we can get through Cornwall to Somerset, we will be well on our way.

“Along the way, we are going to be staying with friends and family. My mother, Connie, still lives in Yorkshire and the route we have planned will allow us to visit her, which will be a special moment to celebrate their 66 years of married life together.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had from so many people. I would like to thank everyone who has donated and is helping to raise so much money for a charity that does such important work.”

James Rogers, BHF area fundraising manager, said: “We’d like to thank Jennie and Andy for taking on this very personal challenge and raising money for our work.

“Every three minutes someone dies from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, taking people away from their family and friends without warning.

“Every pound raised from this cycle will be used to fund new breakthroughs to help prevent, treat and cure heart conditions.”

In the UK, more than 160,000 people die each year from heart and circulatory diseases. The BHF is the UK’s largest independent funder of cardiovascular research. Research funded by the charity has contributed to many scientific advances, including medicines to treat heart attacks and pacemaker technology.