A CARLETON cyclist is pulling an all-nighter and taking on a 60-mile bike ride in memory of her father.
Sarah Davis has signed up to the new Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride, in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which starts on Saturday and finishes at dawn on Sunday.
The nocturnal event is part of a series of night rides across the UK launched by the heart charity to raise vital funds for the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.
Money raised will fund pioneering stem cell research and developmental biology to work out how to repair or replace damaged heart muscle to literally “mend broken hearts” in as little as 10 years time.
Sarah’s father, Dennis Gillow, died from a heart problem in October 2009, aged 65.
Sarah, who had only been with her father hours before, said it was a total shock to her mum Kath and sisters Jayne and Catherine, as he had not been ill and it came out of the blue. A main artery had collapsed, causing his heart to stop beating.
The 37-year-old, who is doing the ride with three friends, said: “It has just been awful. I was so close to my dad and we never had a cross word in 35 years.
“I know everyone says it, but he really was the best dad in the world. He is so sadly missed but he would go mad if he knew we were moping around.
“I really hope other local people feel inspired to come along and take part.”
Sarah has been in training for the event – including taking part in regular spin classes.
Night riders will start from Barton Square at the Trafford Centre, Manchester, at 1am on Sunday – with warm-ups from 11.30pm the night before, then cycle across Greater Manchester and Lancashire – passing through Wigan, Bolton, Chorley, Preston and Lytham.
The final leg will take them alongside the beach in Blackpool under the Illuminations before reaching their final destination of Blackpool Tower, where they can enjoy the sunrise.
Nancy Prior, head of events at the BHF, said: “It is fantastic Sarah is taking part in this event and I am sorry her family has been through so much. ”
n To sponsor Sarah, visit www.justgiving.com/sarah-davis4
n To enter the ride, log on to bhf.org.uk/m2bdark, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 456 8355