A husband and wife team are preparing for an epic bike ride from John O'Groats to Land's End to support Wolverhampton's budding musicians.

Ted and Denise Pearson will hop on their tandem on 1 September, 2023, for the 974 mile ride as they traverse the island of Great Britain between its two extremities in the south west and north east.

In doing so, they hope to raise thousands of pounds for Wolverhampton Music Service, which provides musical opportunities for children and young people across the city. They previously rode from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2019, raising thousands of pounds to buy rock and pop equipment.

The pair, long-standing members of the Friends of Wolverhampton Music Service, are the proud grandparents of Ella, who studied the oboe with the Music Service before joining the Royal Welsh Academy of Music, graduating in 2021.

They have two other grandchildren, Jack, who studied classical guitar for a while before concentrating on musical theatre, and Billy, who is currently studying cello, and say they have witnessed the commitment and dedication of the Music Service staff and how all three developed under their care.

Ted, a retired driving examiner who is also Chair of Trustees for the Friends of Wolverhampton Music Service Charitable Trust, said: "Denise and I have been riding tandems for over 40 years. I have always wanted to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats and when we retired we finally had the time to do it. 

"We are Friends of the Music Service and thought we may as well try and raise some money for them, thinking perhaps we could get £1,000 – and we ended up with £11,000!

"We have a new upgraded tandem and have begun our training. The preparation is almost as hard as the ride itself; choosing the route, finding accommodation and travel to and from the start and finish are all difficult. 

“Physically, we ride two or three days a week between 40-70 miles on each ride. We know at times things will be hard, but we feel we can handle most things and we hope to complete the journey in less than the 18 days it took us last time.”

Denise, who used to work for the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Welfare Rights Service and is a volunteer with the National Trust at Wightwick Manor, added: “We will be starting on 1 September and hope to raise funds to subsidise next year’s Music Service summer tour to Verona in Italy. Any donation, whatever size, will help us along the way!"

Donations can be made via Friends of Wolverhampton Music School.

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: "Music is a really important part of a young person's education, and our Music Service gives thousands of children the opportunity to learn and play a musical instrument each year.

"The Friends of the Wolverhampton Music Service have continued to provide longstanding support and belief in the work of the service and it's wonderful that Ted and Denise are taking on this epic challenge to cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End to help fund next year's Summer Tour, which will see dozens of Music Service students travel to Verona to perform in a series of concerts. 

"I would like to wish them the best of luck and encourage people to give generously if they possibly can."

Wolverhampton Music Service provides high quality tuition and musical opportunities for youngsters from schools across the city, including the chance to perform with its flagship groups, Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra and Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra. To find out more, please visit Wolverhampton Music Service.