A Barton woman is preparing to defy the odds and take on a gruelling tandem cycle ride across the country, just a year after a health scare saw her lose weight and get in shape.

Stephney Hornblow, 65, went to Burton's Queen's Hospital in February 2016 after she was struggling to walk up hill and was getting out of breath a lot more often. She was morbidly obese at this time and says the health scare made her determined to lose weight.

As a precaution, doctors put Mrs Hornblow on a cocktail of medications, including statins, beta-blockers and aspirin as she decided to take steps to get into shape.

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She said: "I had two choices. One would mean I had a long way to go. The other would mean I had nowhere to go. I chose the long way. I began walking every day and I lost weight, supported by my family and dear friends. Later on, with the encouragement of my son, Jono, I began cycling.

"Now, 12 months later I am back at the weight I was for the first 50-odd years of my life and fitter than I have ever been before!

"The statins, beta-blockers and aspirin are just a memory. It's been a long journey but what better way to celebrate it by starting an ever longer one?"

Jono Hornblow, 30 and mum Stephney, 65, have been training hard for their ride later this month

Now Mrs Hornblow and her son Jono, 30 will ride the 874-mile journey from John O'Groats at the top of Scotland down the country to Land's End. They will set off on their challenge, nicknamed the Hornblow JOGLE, on Saturday, September 23.

Mrs Hornblow, who lives in Barton, has been training hard for the last few months and has now lost five and a half stone since her diagnosis, meaning at 65 she is fitter than ever.

She said: "I feel really well; better than I have for 20 years, in fact! It's really hard work, but it's all great fun. Riding has great rewards, but you've got to want to do it, and push yourself to do it."

Her doctors have even wished her luck with the challenge, and she has said they have all been very supportive of her ride.

Jono and Stephney have been training in all kinds of weather

Jono said: "Last year my mother had a health scare but she turned things around through lifestyle choices and began cycling.

This was followed by her informing me that she was planning to do JOGLE on her own; bad idea! It evolved into a tandem ride; worse idea! Let's raise some money for a great charity and have some fun."

Mrs Hornblow's husband, Tim, 67, has also been supporting her through the journey.

She said: "We've come a long way together and he's been so supportive of everything. I couldn't have done it without him."

The pair will be raising money for the British Heart Foundation and Cementing Futures, an educational charity which supports children living in the slums of Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Anyone who would like to support the pair can do so by visiting their Justgiving page.

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