1,500 miles, 94 locations and one charity mission: The Tour de Terry is complete

70-year-old pensioner Terry Keen embarked on an epic 1,500-mile charity cycle in a special tribute to HRH Queen Elizabeth, ahead of her 90th birthday celebrations.

Pedalling his way across the country from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to Cornwall, Terry gathered more than 4,000 signatures between March and May for a specially-designed birthday card which he has delivered to Buckingham Palace today on 10 June.

Visiting 94 care homes and retirement properties run by Anchor, whose Patron is the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, Terry raised £7,000 for charity Grandparents Plus along the way.

The charity supports grandparents who care for their grandchildren, including those who are raising grandchildren full-time because their parents are unable to look after them. According to Grandparents Plus, over 150,000 children are looked after by kinship carers in England today. 

Terry, who has lived with Anchor for five years and turned 70 during the 57-day challenge, wanted to inspire older people to get fit: 

“This journey was tiring but knowing that it was for a good cause spurred me on. It’s so important that older people living with Anchor can get involved in celebrating the Queen’s birthday rather than just watching it on TV.

“I admire the Queen for all her hard work and for being such a wonderful ambassador for the country. I wanted to give something special to her on her 90th birthday so thought why not a birthday card signed by older people from across the country.

“I also want to show people that age is all in the mind. I’m 69 and I’m cycling 1,400 miles, and I hope to inspire others to overcome their own challenges in life. It is so important to keep moving and to keep active.”

Anchor’s Chief Executive, Jane Ashcroft CBE said: “Terry’s challenge is a great example of living life to the full in retirement, a message we are passionate about at Anchor. I know that Terry is incredibly active, and this was a special achievement. Our staff and residents were fully behind the Tour de Terry because it was a great way for them to feel part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s birthday.

“Terry must be the only septuagenarian who is cycling the length of the country collecting 4,000 signatures on a birthday card for The Queen so this is truly a fantastic feat. I enjoyed joining him for a leg of the journey and helping him raise lots of money for Grandparents Plus.”

Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, said: “Parents up and down the country rely on grandparents to provide childcare and many say they couldn't afford to work without it. At the same time, it is grandparents who often step in to support and raise children when there are serious difficulties within families. One in 74 children in England are brought up by relatives because their parents are unable to look after them, and more than half are brought up by grandparents. 

“Rather than being taken into care, children are able to stay within their wider family offering stability, support, a sense of belonging. But too many of them are invisible and unsupported as they face the emotional, practical and financial challenges of caring for children at a later stage of life. It's time to recognise the vital role that grandparents play and ensure they have the support they need to do this. 

“We're delighted that Terry shone a light on this issue and raised funds for Grandparents Plus so we can offer the advice, information and support that really makes a difference.”

Anyone wanting to donate to Grandparents Plus or find out about Tour de Terry can go to www.anchor.org.uk/Terry.

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