A man from Milton Keynes pedalled his way to success in the London to Brighton Bike Ride for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) on Sunday, in honour of his grandfather.

Jack Mccool, 26, from Milton Keynes was one of the over 12,000 riders on June 16 who took on the mammoth distance from Clapham Common to the Brighton seafront, all with the same mission to fund lifesaving research.

The BHF’s flagship fundraising event, which has now been running for almost half a century, raised over £1 million for the charity’s groundbreaking research into new treatments and cures for heart and circulatory diseases. Jack raised an incredible £450 by taking part in the gruelling 54-mile cycle.

Jack took on the challenge in memory of his grandfather, Tony Mccool, who passed away suddenly at the age of 48, following a heart attack. “He had chronic artery disease, and if there had been a defibrillator nearby or he had a stent fitted, my grandad might have lived,” Jack said. “He complained of heart pain a few times and had his heart checked over, but not his arteries. I didn’t know my grandad as I was only six months old when he died, but he was a footballer and very into sport.

“I’m not usually much of a cyclist, but I wanted to do something different to encourage more people to get checked and to fund defibrillator access which might have helped my grandad.”

Upon flying through the finish line, Jack said: “Taking part in this year’s British Heart Foundation (BHF) London to Brighton Bike Ride was a truly incredible experience. The route was stunning although brutal at times! It was great to have my parents and girlfriend here to support me.

“The research that the BHF does makes such a difference to the 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases. I’m proud to know I’m doing as much as I can to support their amazing work to help fund the next big scientific breakthrough.”   

Roisin Atkinson, Senior Events Manager at the BHF, added: “It’s fantastic to see Jack’s passion and determination in helping us fund lifesaving research. Without the dedication of our cyclists and the commitment of fundraisers like Jack we wouldn’t be able to fund research that has already broken new ground, revolutionised treatments and transformed the lives of millions of people in the UK.    

“The stories of why our amazing supporters take part in our London to Brighton Bike Ride never fails to impress us. It’s truly heartwarming to see Jack join thousands of other riders to take on this challenge to help save and improve lives.”   

This year, the London to Brighton Bike Ride also welcomed GB Olympic gymnast Ellie Downie, who cycled in memory of her brother Josh, who died from a sudden cardiac arrest aged 24, and renowned scientist, Sir Patrick Vallance who led a team called ‘Biking for Breakthroughs’. Sir Patrick’s team raised nearly £28,000 for the charity.