11 Apr 2016
A 69-year-old cyclist touring England will visit older people from a care home in Bethnal Green so they can sign a 90th birthday card for the Queen.
Terry Keen, from Surrey, will be popping into Anchor’s Silk Court care home in Ivimey Street on Friday (15 April) so that older people living there and from the local community can sign the card.
Residents will be lining the entrance to the property to cheer on Terry after completing the latest leg of his 1,400-mile journey across England.
As well as collecting more than an estimated 3,000 signatures on the specially-designed birthday card, charity cyclist Terry is asking people to make donations to charity Grandparent Plus.
The charity has revealed there are 1,240 children in Tower Hamlets being raised by grandparents and other family members because their parents are unable to do so, often as a result of difficult family circumstances.
Terry is visiting 90 properties run by Anchor whose Patron is the Queen’s Cousin, Princess Alexandra. He will next travel to Peckham before making his way to Kent, Surrey, Brighton and reaching Helston in Cornwall on 9 May. He will then travel to London to hand in the card to Buckingham Palace.
Leading the welcoming party at Silk Court care home will be residents Eva Debidin, 90 and Sidney Eisler, 93, who said everyone wanted to attend the welcome party for Terry as it was an impressive challenge he was undertaking.
Former nurse, Eva, was chosen to present a bouquet to the Queen Mother in 1961 when she visited St James Palace as part of a British Commonwealth Nurses War Memorial Fund event.
She said: “It’s really something that Terry is travelling around the whole of England to bring this birthday card for older people and Anchor staff to sign. It means so much to us because we all think very highly of her Majesty.”
Pensioner Terry, whose wife, Jacquie, remains at home in Surrey while he completes this tour, said he had been touched with the welcome he had received at all the properties he had visited.
Terry, who has been on the road since 14 March, said: “It has been very tiring cycling all this way and I have many more miles to go but knowing it’s for a good cause and the cheers I’ve received at different Anchor care homes and retirement properties has really spurred me on.
“I really 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.
“The Queen and I are both grandparents so it seemed relevant to raise money for Grandparents Plus which is such a worthwhile charity.
“The card is also a good way for older people across the country to feel part of this national celebration – not many other people will have signed a birthday card that has travelled around England and will be read by the Queen!”
Donna Addison, kinship carer from the area who receives support from Grandparents Plus, said: “I’d like to thank Terry for highlighting kinship care and fundraising for Grandparents Plus. I’m bringing up my grandchildren and I don’t think I’d be able to cope without their support.
“It is much harder than it was the first time around with my kids - it’s tough financially and sometimes exhausting. Terry’s support brings a smile to my face and will help Grandparents Plus to support more grandparents like me.”