A DOZEN friends are about to embark on a three day bike ride across England in aid of two local charities.

Nine paramedics will be joined by an emergency medical dispatcher, an RAF Tornado technician and a cycling journalist to take on the epic 549km journey from Leeds to London to raise money for St Luke's Hospice, which looks after people with cancer and other serious progressive illnesses, and ORCHYD, a charity which provides residential holidays for disabled children.

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The Pace VC Charity Tour, taking place between June 28 and June 30, was the idea of two paramedics: Liam O'Connor, 24, of St Andrews Close, Stanmore, and David Carter, 30, of Wyevale Close, Pinner, who often take patients to St Luke's Hospice in Kenton Road, Kenton.

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Liam, 24, who also volunteers for Ruislip-based ORCHYD, said: “We decided to fundraise for a local charity because if you get a significant amount of money then it would mean more.

“Everyone I have asked always speaks very highly of the hospice, including some colleagues who have had family members who have received care there.”

The challenge will take the riders through Harrogate, the Yorkshire Dales, Sheffield, and Cambridge, before the 12 finish at The Mall in central London.

David Carter, 30, explained the hardest part of the challenge will be on the second day where riders will have to battle a 33-degree incline hill in Sheffield.

The 30-year-old said: “I have cycled most of my life and have done some of the Tour stages in France but I wanted to do something with my colleagues in the UK and fundraise for a local charity.

“I am looking forward to it but am apprehensive. However, the main thing is to get everyone round on two wheels and get round safely.”

The group held a sponsored turbo training session in St Ann’s Shopping Centre in St Ann’s Road, Harrow, in May which helped raise awareness of their fundraiser and collected £132 on the day.

They have so far raised £1,400 so far for the two charities.

Liam added: “The best part of the ride will probably be coming down The Mall in London on the last leg of the journey, if we make it that far!”

More St Luke's Hospice:

St Luke's Hospice trek could raise £80,000

New chief executive Robin Webb appointed to lead Harrow's St Luke's hospice

Sky divers raise thousands for hospice