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

PUBLISHED: 20:00 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 are heading off early tomorrow morning on a gruelling 300-mile cycle ride from London to Paris in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.

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 event which looks to raise tens of thousands of pounds for the two charities.

Cyclists from Ipswich and Colchester 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.

Family and friends gathered to wave off the riders at St Elizabeth Hospice.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNFamily and friends gathered to wave off the riders at St Elizabeth Hospice. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Travelling on the bus down to the capital 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.”

Chief executive of the St Elizabeth Hospice, Mark Millar.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChief executive of the St Elizabeth Hospice, Mark Millar. 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.

“We have had people sign up from about two years ago right up until a few months ago.

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

“They have got together on the roads throughout the year so there are already some friendships that have struck up even before we have even started.

“They will start at Crystal Palace and have their first day cycling to Dover over to Calais.

“They will get to Paris on Saturday afternoon, it should be an amazing experience.

“The Eiffel Tower is an iconic place to end a very special event.”

Riders got together at St Elizabeth Hospice before they boarded a bus heading to the start line in London.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNRiders got together at St Elizabeth Hospice before they boarded a bus heading to the start line in London. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She added: “Each member of the team has raised at least £2,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice and all the money raised by local people stays in the area to help local people.”

The hospices are already planning next year’s charity cycle challenge.

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