Two Amersham pensioners tackle UK coast to coast on bike to support British Heart Foundation after a family member’s life-threatening heart attack.

Sisters Sue Gotley, 78, and Pam Mann, who will turn 80 in July, are currently on their iconic challenge to help fund the charity’s lifesaving science into heart and circulatory diseases.

After setting off on May 20 from Land’s End in south-west England, the duo began covering the 1,074 miles to reach the north tip of Scotland at John O’Groats.

READ MORE: Queen's Jubilees in Bucks in pictures

Sue and Pam cover more than 50 miles each day, and they are due to arrive at the Scottish destination on June 8.

Pam said: “Sue and I have been very close since childhood. This was borne out a few years ago when Sue contracted leukaemia and I became the donor for her life-saving bone marrow transplant.

“The doctors said our blood could not have been more identical if we’d been twins. When the idea for the ride came up, of course Sue and I wanted to take it on together, as sisters and lifelong friends.

The cross-country cycle hasn’t been just easy riding thanks to a “few tough hills” and “good old English weather”, Pam said.

However, the power duo are having a wonderful time seeing the countryside and meeting people along the way – including a hotel proprietor and ironman expert who helped fix Sue’s bike and Queen Elizabeth scarecrow and her corgis.

Pam said: “We've both been passionate about cycling, for health and environmental reasons, and have taken part in a number of bike tours in the past. This ride is certainly one we will never forget!

“These sorts of challenges have always appealed to us and we believe that being older doesn’t necessarily mean the adventures have to stop!

While the sisters took on the challenge to celebrate Pam’s 80th birthday and to raise money for the “fantastic charity” British Heart Foundation, they have other personal reasons for the challenge. 

READ MORE: Bourne End crash involving three cars closes off Marlow Road

In 2021, Pam’s fit and active son Steve Mann, 54, suffered a life-threatening heart-attack, which has changed their lives forever.

Steve, also from Amersham, was out cycling as he trained for a triathlon when he began to feel unwell, and he was taken to Stoke Mandeville hospital. He underwent an emergency coronary angiogram, which revealed a blockage in his right coronary artery where a stent was inserted to open the blocked artery. 

Bucks Free Press: Sue and Pam (right) have already raised thousands of pounds for BHF.Sue and Pam (right) have already raised thousands of pounds for BHF.

Seeing his mom and aunt embark on the charity challenge for BHF has been a positive for Steve, as the charity was “a beam of light in my darkest moment”.

He said: “What my mum and Sue are doing - cycling over 1,000 miles carrying all their gear for the entire trip in their cycle panniers, and especially given their age - is absolutely inspirational. As a family we couldn’t be prouder of them.”

So far, the sisters have raised more than £4,600 of the £5,000 target.

Samantha Wilkins, fundraising manager of British Heart Foundation in Berks and Bucks, said: “This is such an amazing story. The determination of Pam and Sue to take on this epic challenge for Pam’s 80th birthday is truly inspiring. We are so grateful to them for supporting the BHF’s research with this amazing journey.

“It’s fantastic to know that the BHF has been such a support for Steve on his heart journey. For more than 60 years the public’s generosity has funded BHF research that has turned ideas that once seemed like ‘science fiction’ into treatments that save lives every day. But millions of people are still waiting for the next breakthrough”

To donate to Sue and Pam, visit their page here.