Irene Grant-Jones

Irene and Tim Grant

Irene and her husband Tim are no strangers to long (tandem) bike rides. The couple, both professional musicians, bought their first tandem bike in 1977 and rode from London to Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales for a wedding.

Forty years later, on 17 June 2018, Irene and Tim saddled up again. This time, they were riding the 54 miles from London to Brighton in the British Heart Foundation’s iconic race. Here, Irene talks about her motivations for taking part in the ride.

I’ve always liked a challenge, especially when it involves something fun. That’s why the BHF’s London to Brighton Bike Ride was of great appeal. But the real reason I signed up was because of my family history – and the connection to heart conditions. 

My father died of a heart attack when I was 19, he was 55. Mum died when she was 84 of sudden adult death syndrome. When dad died, it was the biggest shock. I never thought I’d hurt like that again. But when mum passed away I felt that same severe pain. I sang at both their funerals.

The family connection to heart issues doesn’t stop there as my sister had a heart attack when she was 50. I am so thankful she survived.

Beyond all this, I also live with a heart condition. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) – a fast and irregular heartbeat. If not managed well, it can lead to further complications. The diagnosis triggered me to become more active. I now go to the gym and do aqua aerobics. My five children and five grandchildren also keep me busy and on my toes!   

As well as exercise, singing is another wonderful outlet for me. Well, it’s my job as well! I’m a singing and music teacher. But I find singing very soothing for the soul and if I’m struggling to say the words I’ll sing them instead. 

I took my voice with me on the 2018 London to Brighton: at a water station en route, three guys allowed me to sing to them. I belted out Daisy Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do. I think they planned to put it on social media. Has anyone seen it?!

Lastly, I want to thank the BHF for putting on such a great event and I know the funds we raised will go towards life-saving research. Till next year, keep on peddling! 

To help us fund our vital research, take part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2019. Together, we will beat heartbreak forever.