ATHLETIC and artistic fundraisers have been inspired to support two charities helping people suffering from heart and muscle problems.

The British Heart Foundation’s Mend A Broken Heart Appeal and The Dystonia Society will benefit from money collected from a three-hour aerobathon and from the sales of artwork created by former construction worker Peter Leatherbarrow.

The 55-year-old has put down his sledgehammer and picked up a pencil to draw birds as part of his recovery from heart failure and now he is hoping that his drawings – inspired by pictures and the birds that visit his garden in Landside, Leigh – will help to raise money for the British Heart Foundation’s appeal.

Peter has suffered from high cholesterol since he was 20 and underwent bypass surgery when he was just 30.

His illness meant he had to give up his work in construction and become a lecturer at Bolton College although he is now retired and has found time create to sketch.

Peter said: “I am no Picasso with a brush so I decided to start drawing birds with a pencil. I’ve always dabbled a little bit and thought I was alright, but it’s just been about having the time to do it.”

Peter’s wife Joyce, who was shocked to discover her husband’s artistic talent after years of marriage, has also been fundraising.

She recruited fellow members of Andrea’s Aerobics club, family and staff from St Thomas School, where she has been a teaching assistant for 15 years, to take part in a three-hour aerobathon.

The event involved an hour of weight training, an hour of aerobics and an hour of circuit training and they have raised almost £1,000.

Joyce said: “We were all exhausted, but there was a brilliant atmosphere and it was a lot of fun.”

The money raised from both events will be split between the Mend A Broken Heart Appeal and The Dystonia Society, as Joyce’s sister Lynn suffers from dystonia, which is a neurological movement disorder.