A DAD described as a “heart attack waiting to happen,” has ridden through Sunderland as part of an epic bike journey.
During the last 18 months, Ben Miles has transformed his life after being overweight and inactive, as well as a heavy smoker.
But he decided enough was enough and he is now training to become a professional cyclist by riding nearly 6,000km – from the Rock of Gibraltar to Nordkapp in Norway, the northernmost point in Europe – to raise money for the NSPCC.
Ben, the son of Slimming World founder Margaret Miles-Bramwell, passed through Herrington Country Park on his route.
The 30-year-old said: “I’m the very proud dad of two beautiful boys.
“But I know only too well that not all kids are as lucky as mine, to have a loving and caring family.
“For many years, Slimming World has supported the NSPCC and I wanted to make my own contribution to the amazing amount of money – more than £1million – that slimmers have contributed to help prevent child abuse.
“When my doctor told me how at much at risk my health was, I set myself this challenge to get fit and healthy.
“My family have been so important to me on this journey. In fact, they’re what got me on my bike in the first place, because I wanted to be healthy and to be around for them.
“I really hope doing this ride can make a difference to lots of children and their families, who really need it.”
The task was even harder for Ben – who is originally from Nottinghamshire but now lives on the Spanish island of Mallorca – as he was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, has a false hip after suffering with a degenerative hip disease, and broke his back in a quad bike accident.
Ben’s journey has seen him travel through Spain, France, Sweden, Finland and Norway and through the UK, where Slimming World members have been holding a series of Parties in the Park to show their support.
The parties have helped to launch the organisation’s annual Miles for Smiles fund-raising event in groups around the country.
To donate go to www.bensmiles.com.