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26 Nov 2019
A bus driver from Deal has cycled his way round all seven Stagecoach bus depots in the South East to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
Barry Bolton, who normally drives buses in Dover and Deal, swapped his driving seat for the saddle and peddled the 115 mile route in honour of his former colleague Keith Chapman who died in June.
Keith, who was also a driver at Stagecoach’s Dover depot, died suddenly following a heart attack. Barry said: “It was a huge shock when it happened, he was so well liked and respected as a colleague – we just couldn’t believe we’d lost him.”
A lifelong Karate practitioner with a ‘4th Dan’ grading, Keith taught Karate in his local community of Eastry and Woodnesborough. His wife Lindsay said: “I feel he’ll be remembered for being friendly and helpful to everyone he met.”
Barry, aged 50, said: “I wanted to pay tribute to Keith by raising money for the British Heart Foundation. Keith inspired me when he told me he had run marathons barefoot and encouraged me to keep challenging myself.”
On the big day, Barry was unexpectedly joined by former colleague Chris Hayman who joined him for the full route starting at Eastbourne and peddling through Hastings, Ashford, Folkestone, Dover, Westwood in Thanet, Herne Bay and finishing at Canterbury.
Barry had been cycling seriously for just over a year and lost over two stone in the process. Barry added: “The highlight for me was the ride down into Dover where we were greeted by Keith’s wife Lindsay. It got quite emotional.”
Kim Brophy, BHF Fundraising Manager, said: “Without the dedication and support of people like Barry, we wouldn’t be able to fund life-saving research that will end the devastation caused by heart and circulatory disease once and for all.
“Support from the local community means everything to us – and this money will help to save and improve lives and keep more families together. We look forward to seeing Bazza go one step further next year and continue to do Keith proud.”
The fundraising effort was organised by Barry’s ‘campaign manager’ – his wife Sue. Having raised over £1,200 through donations, Stagecoach boss, Joel Mitchell, was so impressed by the effort he stepped in to arrange for the company to top-up the amount by a further £400.
Barry hopes to repeat the feat again next year with a mission to raise even more money for the heart charity.
Anyone interested in fundraising for the BHF can contact Kim Brophy on 07860 954235 or [email protected]
Stagecoach Managing Director Joel Mitchell, bus driver and charity cyclist Barry Bolton, Kim Brophy from BHF and Lindsay Chapman (right) holding up a picture of Keith.