Well-wishers gathered at Colchester Rugby Club to bid farewell to London to Paris fundraising cyclists in support of St Helena Hospice.
Forty-eight riders are tackling 286 miles over four days, finishing close to the Eiffel Tower on Saturday 23rd September.
Charlotte Cook, from Manningtree, is no stranger to long distance rides. Two years ago she took part in the St Helena Hospice `3-2-1’ ride from Colchester to Brussels via Amsterdam.
“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”.
Beatriz Sant Moro, from Spain is taking part, but without her boyfriend Joe Beggs from Sudbury.
“He wanted to do it but injured his knee in a car accident. I’ve cycled all my life but I’ve never done anything like this before. Unfortunately my bike and passport were stolen while I was training in Spain, so I’ve spent the last three weeks getting a new bike and a new passport.”
Sarah Phillips, Challenges Fundraiser said: “It’s been eighteen months since we signed up the first participant and it has been a privilege to get to know them all as they prepared for this challenge.
“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.”
Support teams will make sure that riders are supplied with food and drink along the way, as well as offering assistance to anyone with mechanical problems.
For information on how to get involved with any of the charity’s other upcoming fundraising challenges please click this link sthelenahospice.org.uk/challenges