11 Apr 2016
A 69-year-old cyclist touring England visited older people from a retirement property in Wigan so they could sign a 90th birthday card for the Queen.
Terry Keen, from Surrey, popped into Anchor’s St Clements Court in Worsley Mesnes Drive on Monday 28 March. Residents lined 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 900 children in Wigan 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 Manchester before making his way to Liverpool, 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 St Clements Court is Mavis Colclough, 77, whose parents, Robert and Lily White, loved living at the property so much that she decided to move in with husband, Denis, when they retired.
Mavis’s family has had a long connection with the Royal Family. Her father was due to be presented with a Military Medal for the bravery he showed on D-Day landings from King George but he became ill and passed away. Years later, Mr White met the Queen Mother for tea at Clarence House where she presented him with the medal. Since then she has received letters from the Queen Mother on her 100th birthday and from the Queen on her 80th birthday.
Mavis, who has lived at St Clements Court for more than 10 years, said everyone wanted to attend the welcome party for Terry as it was an impressive challenge he was undertaking.
She said: “It’s really something that Terry is travelling around the whole of England to bring this birthday card for us 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!”
Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, 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.