Tower to Tower challenge

Nidal Bittar and Andrew Duncan gear up for their challenge
Nidal Bittar and Andrew Duncan gear up for their challenge

Two intrepid cyclists are preparing to undertake a gruelling three-day bike ride from London to Paris in memory of a former colleague and to raise money for their hospital.

But the 240 mile challenge is not out of the ordinary for heart surgeons Nidal Bittar and Andrew Duncan, who two years ago completed a bike trek across the desert, raising nearly £15,000 for Blue Skies Hospitals Fund’s Heart of Gold Charitable Fund.

By doing this ride we will be keeping his memory alive

And although their latest task, which they will take on between September 3 and 6, will be done in a more manageable heat and on relatively flat ground, they will cover more miles in fewer days.

Mr Bittar, a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: “We’ll be doing nearly 80 miles a day so I would imagine we would be very tired doing it.

“At the moment I am not too confident as I haven’t done a lot of training, but hopefully we will do it – we’ve got through worse.

“In Jordan it was different – we rode between 60 and 70 miles a day but we had the heat to contend with and we went from 400 meters below sea level to 1,200 meters above it. It was painful.”

Mr Bittar, 47 of Lytham, and Mr Duncan, 57 of Singleton, aim to raise £5,000, which will be split between the Heart of Gold Charitable Fund and Prostate Cancer UK in memory of their former colleague Cark Humphries who died of prostate cancer last year.

Mr Duncan, also a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: “We all still feel very sad and shocked at the loss of our good colleague last year.

“Andrew and I feel that by doing this bike ride we will be keeping his memory alive.

“The Heart of Gold Charitable Fund is also very important to us because it helps us to drive innovation and research in the Cardiac Centre which will benefit our patients.”

The Heart of Gold Charitable Fund is a division of Blue Skies Hospitals Fund – the charity for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which supports the Lancashire Cardiac Centre, based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

To support Mr Bittar and Mr Duncan visit www.justgiving.com/nidal-bittar.