A YOUNG man who underwent major heart surgery as a baby can indulge his love of cycling after receiving a specially adapted bike.

Keeping fit and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of everyday life for Gareth Bailey, from Barnard Castle, County Durham, who was born born with a hole in his heart.

The 22-year-old, who also has Down's Syndrome, enjoys cycling but has been unable to venture out alone due his lack of road sense.

Two charities - Action For Kids and A Smile For A Child, together with match funding from the ACT Foundation - have now provided him with a specially adapted bike.

Gareth can sit at the front and pedal while another user sits behind and steers.

His mother, Joan, said: “Gareth has a very healthy appetite so it is hugely important that he can control his weight and keep his heart healthy.

“Gareth loves cycling and it gives him the chance to get out and about and socialise with others.

“But he can’t just cycle off on his own because he lacks road sense, so we needed a special kind of bike to allow him to cycle safely.”

His brother, Matt, who goes cycling with him, said: "Gareth was so happy that he sang at the top of his voice for the whole of his first ride.

“He is completely safe as I can control the brakes, gears and steering from the rear seat.”

Graham Duncan, chief executive for Action For Kids, said: “Gareth’s bike is exactly the type of equipment that is never available on the NHS but which makes a very real difference to the quality of life of a young person.”