A 66-year-old Welshpool man has marked a year since his open heart surgery by walking 35 miles in one day for charity.

Chris Brooks has raised £2,125, including Gift Aid, for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) after undergoing open heart surgery in February 2019 to replace a defective aortic heart valve.

As part of his recovery Chris initially kept active by taking short walks around his home, building up to longer walks around his neighbourhood.

Many of his walks took him along the historic Montgomery Canal, affectionately known locally as The Monty.

Chris decided to celebrate the first anniversary of his open heart surgery by walking the full length of the Monty in just one day, and thought he would raise some funds for BHF Cymru’s research into heart conditions at the same time.

Chris said: “I had heart failure and needed open heart surgery to replace my aortic heart valve. The procedure, which took place in Stoke hospital, carried out by a marvellous surgical team was very successful – then during the several months of recovery I took up walking. In our village, I think I became known as ‘that man that walks a lot’.

“I walked extensively along the Monty. The canal has an amazing history, dating back to the glory days of our great canals. It is 35 miles long, starting in Newtown and finishing at Welsh Frankton, where it joins the Llangollen canal. Although regrettably now it’s partially disused, it still has many special features, and is well worth a visit.

“I set out at 6am accompanied by my walking buddy, Maisy our Labradoodle, and supported where necessary by my wife, Jane.

“We completed the challenge in just over 13 hours – it was a wonderful experience and I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the support I’ve received.

“I initially set a target to raise £200 for BHF Cymru, and I can’t believe that I’ve gone so far beyond my original target.”

BHF Cymru currently funds almost £4m of research in Wales into heart and circulatory diseases.

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, said: “We are so grateful that Chris has chosen to support BHF Cymru, helping us raise funds for our life saving research.

“Sadly there are around 340,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases in Wales and it’s more important than ever for us to find better ways of diagnosing, treating and finding cures for these conditions.

“We’re really pleased Chris has made such a good recovery following his surgery and I’d like to thank him for going the extra mile, in fact all 35 of them, for the BHF.”

You can still support Chris via his fundraising page.