"If I can do this, then I hope to inspire others to overcome their own challenges in life, no matter how old they are."
Being a grandparent, I know what fun it is looking after any of my 11 grandchildren on a short-term basis, but to have to do this full-time due to difficult family circumstances is a different ball game.
While working out my plans for my 1,400 mile tour around England with a specially-designed birthday card for the Queen, which older people at the 90 locations I’m visiting will be able to sign, I decided to raise money for Grandparents Plus.
Grandparents Plus is a national organisation that supports grandparents and other relatives who are caring for children because their parents are unable to look after them or they have died. According to the charity, more than 150,000 children are looked after by kinship carers in England today.
My wife, Jacquie, and I help in any way we can with babysitting duties so we know the important role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. And we also know how tiring it can be looking after them for just one day so to have to care for them full-time at our age in sad circumstances would be no mean feat. That’s why I feel so passionately about raising money for Grandparents Plus.
I've always believed that being active, even for those with limited mobility, is important. I want to show people across the country that age is all in the mind.
So why cycle so many miles with a birthday card for the Queen? I’m a big cycling fan and I admire the Queen so I thought why not combine the two and help raise money for a good cause and enable older people to sign a card that will be read by the Queen. As her Majesty and I are both grandparents, the charity was the obvious choice. I’m hoping that more than 3,000 people will sign the card.
I couldn’t have done this without help from Jacquie, who worked out the schedule and mileage, and Anchor, whose retirement housing properties I’m staying at en route.
I’ve always believed that being active, even for those with limited mobility, is important. I want to show people across the country that age is all in the mind. I’m a 69-year-old grandfather 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.
At the time of writing, I am well on my way on the Tour De Terry which started in Berwick-upon-Tweed on 14th March and finishes in Helston in Cornwall on 9th May. And what a way to start. When I arrived in Berwick-upon-Tweed I was given such a wonderful welcome at a surprise party. And so it’s continued down the country – the welcomes I have been given have been very humbling.
I’m going to be writing a regular blog on my tour so people around the country can hear about the interesting people I’m meeting, many of whom are grandparents, if not great grandparents. My page on this site will also provide information about Grandparents Plus and how people can make a donation.
You can find Terry's blog here and follow him on Twitter using #TourDeTerry. When he's not cycling, he is usually based in Surrey.