TENORS and baritones will get on their bikes to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

Members of Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir will set off from Cowley tomorrow to cycle more than 100 miles to Cardiff.

The choir has its roots in the migration of Welsh families during the Great Depression to find work in the car industry in Oxford.

The choir, launched in 1928, now has 54 members and is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

Telecoms expert Andy Jones, 50, who lives in Abingdon with wife Helen, is joining 20 other cyclists en route to Penarth, near Cardiff, where they will take part in a concert on Saturday.

He said: “There will be three groups of seven, fast, medium and slow and we aim to arrive on Saturday afternoon, in time for the concert in the evening.

“It’s the choir’s 90th anniversary and we wanted to draw attention to the journey made by Welshmen to Oxford during the late 1920s and 1930s so they could work at the Cowley car factory.

“Lord Nuffield visited the South Wales coalfield during the depression to witness the deprivation and as a result he decided to offer jobs to 250 unemployed miners, many of whom then travelled on foot and by bicycle to start new lives in Cowley.

“This was typical of William Morris’s ability to see the congruence between philanthropy and business.”

Father-of-two Mr Jones said cyclists would seek donations along the route for the British Heart Foundation, following the death last year of one of its members, David Wynn.

“He was a very keen cyclist and helped to come up with the idea for this ride but we lost him a few months into the planning,” said Mr Jones.

In the late 1920s and 1930s hundreds of Welshmen travelled from the valleys, many on foot, to seek work at William Morris’s new car factory and at Pressed Steel, the car body manufacturing business.

About half of the choir members are Welsh or have strong Welsh connections.

A 90th anniversary concert will take place at Oxford Town Hall in St Aldate’s on Saturday, October 27 at 7.30pm. The concert will feature the choir, and Cor Meibion De Cymru. It will also feature singers Samantha Oxborough and Rhydian Jenkins. For more information about the choir visit oxfordwelshmvc.org.uk