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Cyclists take on 300-mile ride from London to Paris in aid of hospices

PUBLISHED: 19:59 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:59 20 September 2017

Riders gather at St Elizabeth Hospice before they set off for the London to Paris cycle ride. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Riders gather at St Elizabeth Hospice before they set off for the London to Paris cycle ride. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dozens of riders from Ipswich and Colchester are heading off early tomorrow morning on a gruelling 300-mile cycle ride from London to Paris.

Riders at the St Elizabeth Hospice. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRiders at the St Elizabeth Hospice. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The riders have been preparing all summer for the challenge, which will see them finish in spectacular style under the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.

Ipswich’s St Elizabeth Hospice and Colchester’s St Helena Hospice have teamed up for the charity event which looks to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the organisations.

Cyclists were taken to the starting line in Crystal Palace in London today in preparation for the ride.

Sandy Lister, a P.E teacher at Ipswich High School, is among a group of staff and sixth formers taking part.

British and French flags were waved as the cyclists left the hospice. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNBritish and French flags were waved as the cyclists left the hospice. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Travelling on the bus down to London she said: “I think we have gone through a huge range of emotions, from sheer panic realising it was a week away to giving your self a talking to and realising it is happening.

“The weather looks like it will hold out for us though.

“We have been given the maps and have been shown where the water stops are so I think we just want to get going.

“Finishing at the Eiffel Tower will be a highlight, what a special place to finish it.”

Charlotte Flynn, Sue Voules and Nykki Stafford send off the riders.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCharlotte Flynn, Sue Voules and Nykki Stafford send off the riders. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Joanne Rodger, events and challenges manager at St Elizabeth Hospice said: “It’s a team thing. The camaraderie is absolutely amazing.

“We had family and friends with flags French and British waving them off, it was really nice.”

Charlotte Cook, from Manningtree, is no stranger to long distance rides.

She took part in a charity ride from Colchester to Brussels in aid of St Helena Hospice two years ago and was keen to get back on her bike for this challenge.

The cyclists before they left Colchester for Crystal Palace. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe cyclists before they left Colchester for Crystal Palace. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“As soon as I got back from that, I signed up for this”, she said.

“My grandad passed away in a hospice, so I started fundraising for St Helena Hospice as it is my nearest one. I’ve travelled a lot but I have never been to France before, so I’m really looking forward to the scenery and meeting new people. I know it’s going to be an amazing trip”.

Sarah Phillips, challenges fundraiser for St Helena Hospice said: “I’m really proud of every single one of them, and they should be proud of themselves too. I know it will be tough at times, but I’m confident they will all dig deep for a fantastic cause.”

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