THERE’S probably quite a few of us who think we could just about manage a 30-mile bike ride.
But inspirational grandfather Richard Ashton completed the feat in just two hours and 20 minutes - less than a decade after he was given a second chance at life via a quadruple heart bypass operation.
The 67-year-old, a member of St Helens Cycling Club who competed in the national hill climb championship in his youth, suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night 10 years ago.
But amazingly, after undergoing a major bypass operation at Broad Green Hospital 10 months later, he took the step-by-step recovery process in his stride and was back on his bike just months after the surgery.
Mr Ashton, of Hard Lane, completed the 30-mile North Wales Bike Ride earlier this month, not only showing how far he has come, but also to raise vital funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
The father-of-two and grandfather-of-three said: “Me and my family have had a lot of support from the BHF following my heart attack - I owe them a debt of gratitude.
“They think they are within five years of perfecting the stem cell therapy which could make bypass operations like mine and hole-in-the-heart operations on babies a thing of the past, and I wanted to do my bit to help.
“The ride started and ended in Rhyl and took us through Prestatyn, Rhuddlan, St Asaph and Bodelwyddan. It was quite hard in places.
“Some of the younger riders dashed off at the start, but I managed to reel a few in later on!”
Mr Ashton, who was joined on the day by his support team of wife Christine, daughter Jaine and granddaughter Jemma, classed himself as being “fit and healthy” when he fell ill, aged just 57.
His family have since raised thousands of pounds for the BHF and he completed the ride with a heart-shaped sign on his back - to dedicate it to both the charity and the staff at Broad Green Hospital.
Mr Ashton, who worked as a glass technologist at Pilks until 1984, added: “Suffering the heart attack was a terrific shock, but it has given me a new perspective on life.
“I have to be reasonably careful about what exercise I do now, but, thankfully, I was mended pretty well.”
To add your support to Mr Ashton’s BHF fundraising drive, go online at: www.justgiving/richard-ashton4
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Weather for St Helens
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 13 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: West