A Norfolk man is taking on a year-long fitness challenge to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) after the death of his parents.

Barry Pilling, from Ashill, near Watton, is aiming to cycle 3,000km and walk 1,500km by the end of 2021.

Eastern Daily Press: Barry Pilling weighed 22 stone and 9 pounds, but since changing his lifestyle has lost four stone in weightBarry Pilling weighed 22 stone and 9 pounds, but since changing his lifestyle has lost four stone in weight (Image: British Heart Foundation)

The 48-year-old was motivated to set himself the goal following the death of his mother, Pat, from vascular dementia in February last year at the age of 81.

Mr Pilling said: “There’s a long history of heart-related problems in my family, my dad died when he was 62, my grandfather at 69, and my great-grandfather at 55.

"I’m really into my family history and having looked back through my family tree, no-one on my dad’s direct line has lived to 70.

“When my mum passed away, it made me re-evaluate my own health, I’ve been trying to lose weight for years, but after I saw a photograph of myself from the funeral, I thought I need to make it work this time.

"I’m getting on for fifty and it’s now or never.”

At the time he resolved to change his lifestyle and lose weight, he weighed 22 stone and 9 pounds. However, since then he has lost four stone in weight.

After proving to himself that he could lose weight, Mr Pilling – who runs an IT consultancy – decided to set himself the ambitious fundraising and fitness target for 2021.

He has already raised £1,390 of his £2,000 target for BHF and said it "feels amazing to raise money" for the cause.

He added: "This money will help the charity fund research into heart and circulatory conditions, like those that have affected so many people in my family.”

Jennifer Townsend, fundraising manager for the BHF, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Barry for taking on this personal challenge and for the money he has raised so far.

“Our life-saving research is fuelled by the generous donations of the public. Without this support we would not be able to fund the scientists who are working to find the next breakthrough that can improve the treatment, prevention and cure of heart disease.”