PLUCKY pensioner Val Loughborough is not letting Parkinson’s disease stop her from attempting a 179-mile coast to coast bike ride this summer.

Mrs Loughborough, of Barton, near Darlington, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2008 and although she got the all-clear last year, she discovered after her chemotherapy course that she has Parkinson’s disease.

The 69-year-old vowed not to let it hold her back and she is now in training for a bicycle ride from Walney Island, near Morcambe, to Whitby at the beginning of August.

She will be joined by her 67-year-old sister Christine Brant who is travelling across from her home in Denmark in a camper van to join Mrs Loughborough at the starting point.

The pair hope to complete the ride in three weeks and Mrs Loughborough said: “I am apprehensive, but I am also determined.

“The Parkinson’s does make me very slow, and the chemotherapy has damaged my feet.

“Training isn’t going very well because since my last bike ride I have shrunk, so the bike is too big for me and I fell off, but Halfords are making me a smaller one and I’m sure that will be fine.

“As long as we get from A to B it doesn’t matter how many times we have to stop.

“We will do it.”

Mrs Loughborough is no stranger to long distance rides; she completed a 135-mile ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland in 2008 to raise money for Leukaemia Research and Middlesbrough’s James Cook Hospital where she underwent her chemotherapy treatment.

This time she is cycling for Parkinson’s UK and a Parkinson’s support group based in Darlington.

Anybody who would like to sponsor her should visit