A FORMER Abergavenny headteacher and her sister have proven that age is just a number by cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

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

Former Abergavenny head teacher Ms Gotley and her sister set off on May 20 and completed the 1,074 mile trip from the bottom of South-West England all the way to the tip of Scotland on June 8, covering more than 50 miles a day on their journey.

Ms Mann said: “We decided to take on the challenge to celebrate my 80th birthday and raise money for a fantastic charity in the British Heart Foundation.

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

“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.

“We’ve had a few tough hills to climb so far and plenty of good old English weather."

Along the way the pair met some interesting characters, from the hotel proprietor and ironman expert who helped mend Ms Gotley's bike one morning, to the scarecrow Queen Elizabeth II complete with her corgis.

The duo have a personal reason for backing the BHF.

In 2021, Ms Mann's fit and active son Steve suffered a life-threatening heart attack.

Mr Mann, 54, from Amersham, was out cycling as part of his training for a triathlon when he began to feel unwell.

He was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where a stent was inserted to open a blocked artery. 

He said: “What my mum and Sue have done - 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.

“For me, the British Heart Foundation has been a beam of light in my darkest moment.”

The pair have already raised more than £5,300 for the BHF and they now hope they can boost their total even higher.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/pammannandsuegotley