A businessman tackling a world record tandem challenge in aid of Heart Research UK has met a young heart patient who could benefit from any funds raised.

Dominic Irvine, who will try and break the 48-year-old world record for the fastest tandem ride between Land’s End and John O’Groats, has met three-year-old Riley Platts, who represents one of the reasons for the challenge.

Riley, from Masefield Road, Guiseley, has had a number of operations at Leeds General Infirmary to correct a rare congenital heart defect, truncus arteriosis – where the two main arteries are joined together – and although he is fit and well, will need further operations as he grows older.

Mr Irvine attempts the world record on the first weekend in May with British time-trials rider Glenn Longland, and the money they raise will go towards Yorkshire-based Heart Research UK’s “Helping Little Hearts” campaign to help fund a rehabilitation toolkit for young heart patients recovering from surgery.

Mr Irvine, 46, an Ilkley businessman, said meeting Riley has helped him to understand what young heart patients and their families go through. “When you know you are doing the challenge for a reason it will be a great motivation for us to keep going,” he said. “It will really help me having in my mind someone like Riley to keep me going on the tandem challenge and break the record. I hope the fundraising will also make a difference for Riley and others like him in the future.”

Riley’s mother, Bradford schoolteacher Kathryn Walker, said it was important that more research into heart disease was done to help children like Riley. “It would be great if Dominic can break a record that has stood for so many years,” she said. “He’s doing an amazing thing in trying to help children like Riley. We have met many children, even on Riley’s short journey in life, who are going through the same things as him.”

Kathryn, who teaches at Westminster Primary School in Bradford, said as long as Riley remained healthy and his main heart arteries continued to work properly, then he wouldn’t immediately need another operation, but he will still need further surgery when he gets older. “For Riley the more research being done the better, as the prognosis is that he will need further surgery at some stage,” she added.

The tandem record attempt means speeding between Land’s End and John O’Groats in less than 50 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds.

Mr Irvine, managing partner of Ilkley-based Epiphanies, a learning development and leadership consultancy, failed in his attempt to break the record last year, but is confident of success on a new bike built by Orbit of Gargrave near Skipton.

The Helping Little Hearts campaign is a project that will help equip children born with heart defects or have had heart surgery to lead healthy and physically active lives.

Barbara Harpham, National Director, Heart Research UK, comments: “We are delighted that Dominic and Glenn have chosen our ‘Helping Little Hearts’ campaign for this monumental challenge.”