Three little sisters with heart problems have inspired their doting granddad to do all he can to help them.
Former trials bike rider Ray Pekala, 61, from Dursley loves spending time with his granddaughters and has organised something special for this weekend.
Bowled over by the support charity Heart Heroes gave his family after one of his granddaughter had a major heart operation during lockdown, he wants to give something back and has organised a trials bike event on Sunday.
Three of Mr Pekala’s six grandchildren, all sisters, have congenital heart defects.
This means he and his wife have been on hand to help their daughter if one of the children needs to go to hospital, or if there are complications or illnesses.
Mr Pekala said: “My daughter Zoe runs a blog called Three Hearts One Journey.
“It talks about what the three girls have been through and what it is like for her looking after the children.
“They are very young, Lucy is five, Chloe is four and Alice is three years old.
“It is Alice the baby that has had the most problems.
“During the lockdown, she was in hospital having an investigative operation and it was lovely how Heart Heroes were able to support us and the other two grandchildren when that was happening.”
Now Mr Pekala is holding a trials bike day on Sunday from 10am at the Break Heart Quarry in Dursley.
Trials bike manufacturer TRS is showcasing some brand new trails bikes at the quarry circuit.
Plus there will be appearances by British trials bike champions Toby Martyn and also Steve Saunders.
People have paid to be able to take part in the event before hand and have booked a place to have a go on the circuit.
For more of the latest news near you, sign up to receive our newsletters.
The daily and weekly bulletins are simple, easy to read and we’ll only send the most important stories.
Our teams are committed to bringing you the latest news, guiding you through this global pandemic and writing the stories that matter.
People can not directly access the site but spectators can watch on from the public footpath, but reminded by the event organisers to adhere to social distancing rules.
Mr Pekala said: “It was brilliant the support Heart Heroes gave us when Alice was in hospital. They arrived with food parcels for us and games and colouring books for the girls.
“It will be a great day to make money for Heart Heroes.
“The Break Heart quarry is a place that I have been around since I could walk and some years back I took it on as a community project for people to enjoy.
“I hope that people can enjoy the view from the public footpath.”
Heart Heroes has been there to support the mother of the three girls and she knows that if she needs someone to talk to then there is someone on the end of the phone that understands.
Mother Zoe Pekala, 36, from Broadway in the Cotswolds, said: “All three of the girls have been diagnosed with a heart condition.
“Lucy never needed treatment but had a prolapsed mitrovalve.
“Chloe had a hole in the heart and she had a major operation for that in 2019.
“With Alice, her heart condition was picked up during a pregnancy scan. I had her at st Michael’s hospital in Bristol.
“They scanned her when she was born and they said that something was not right but they were unsure what it was.
“She was in intensive care but after five days we were able to go home.
“At two weeks old she had to have an operation to close the hole in her heart. She had to have an artificial valve put in.
“They did say that it was risky and like cutting tissue paper, but they had to do something to help her.
“Alice since has had multiple surgeries and five open heart operations.
“Heart Heroes is a great support for me. They are really good at keeping spirits up.
“I have support from people who understand and know what we are going through and it is a heart community away from the hospital.”