01 Apr 2016
A 69-year-old cyclist touring England visited older people from three retirement properties in Lancashire so they could sign a 90th birthday card for the Queen.
Terry Keen, from Surrey, popped into Anchor’s Browhead Court in Burnley on Friday (25 March) where he was welcomed by John Hutchingson, a former miner and sergeant in the army.
The next day he visited Holly Court in Blackburn and Pikestone Court in Chorley where he was welcomed by four tenants, Harold Hunter, Mary McNally, George Birchall and Lillian Sandham, who are all in their 90’s.
Residents lined the entrance to the property and cheered 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 340 children in Burnley, 920 in Blackburn with Darwen and 280 in Chorley 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 Wigan before making his way to Manchester, Birmingham, London 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 Holly Court was 93 year-old Second World War RAF gunner, Len Thomas.
Len said everyone wanted to attend the welcome party for Terry as it was an impressive challenge he was undertaking.
He 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!”
Graham Leach from Grandparents Plus in Lancashire, said: “It’s heart-warming that Terry is supporting our work.
“Grandparents and other family members who step in to raise children, in often very difficult circumstances, are repeatedly forgotten within society and by the government. The money that Terry and all the Anchor events, taking place across the country, raise will enable us to reach more grandparent and family carers and ensure they receive the support they need.”
Anyone wanting to donate to Grandparents Plus or find out about Tour de Terry can go to www.anchor.org.uk/Terry or follow him on Twitter with the hashtag: #TourDeTerry.