My name is Terry Keen and I’m very excited that after months of preparation, the time has finally arrived for me to get on my bike and set off on my 1,400-mile cycle tour around England. I’m visiting 90 Anchor locations on my travels, inviting the people I meet to sign a special birthday card for Her Majesty The Queen and raising money for charity Grandparents Plus.

This is my first blog launching Tour de Terry and I’d like to tell you what I’m doing and why. 

I’m setting off on this adventure with a range of goals. One important dimension is that I’m encouraging people to raise money for Grandparents Plus, a charity which supports grandparents who care for their grandchildren because their parents are unable to look after them. According to the charity, more than 150,000 children are looked after by kinship carers in England today. 

My wife, Jacquie, and I are grandparents and we help in any way we can with babysitting duties so we know the important role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. We also know how tiring it can be looking after children for just one day, so to have to care for them in later life full-time because the children’s parents are unable to do so due to difficult family circumstances, is no mean feat. That’s why I feel so passionately about raising money for Grandparents Plus, you can donate to them here.

So why cycle so many miles with a birthday card for the Queen? Firstly, I love the feeling of freedom cycling gives you. But I also wanted to undertake this challenge to help others. I’m fortunate in that I am in relatively good health so Jacquie and I will be able to make it to London to see the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations this year in person easily. But there are many older people too frail or that could not afford to travel to London for the Queen’s birthday and I wanted to bring the card to them so they felt part of the national celebrations.

When I tell people how old I am, they seem surprised I am doing such a challenge at my “time in life”. I want to show people across the country that age is all in the mind. I’m 69 and zigzagging across the country on my faithful bicycle. If I can do this, then I hope to inspire others to overcome their own challenges in life, no matter how old they are. The most important thing is to keep moving and remain active. 

Tour de Terry is going to be great fun as well as a big challenge. But knowing this is for a good cause and getting to meet so many interesting people along the way will make it all worthwhile.

I’m going to be posting a blog every week so please do bookmark this page so you can hear about the great people I’ve met and how the journey is going. You can also check out the Tour de Terry route map here to see find out where I will be visiting and follow my progress on Twitter using the hashtag #TourDeTerry.

Terry Keen, 69, lives at Anchor's Willow Glade retirement housing scheme, and this spring is cycling 1,400-miles across England with a 90th birthday card for the Queen.

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