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Cyclist takes on 311-mile challenge for hospice

Keen cyclist Aaron Cooper is training for the 311-mile challenge

A 19-year-old cyclist is preparing to take on a 311-mile cycling challenge spanning two capital cities – all in the name of charity.

Aaron Cooper, from Clifton-upon-Teme, near Worcester, is training for the London to Paris Challenge and is raising money for St Richard’s Hospice.

The mammoth bike-ride spans four days in July, finishing on the Champs-Élysées the day before the finale of the Tour de France.

Mr Cooper, who is an engineering apprentice and college student, said: “I’ve always wanted to do my bit for charity and being a keen cyclist, I thought I’ll put two and two together.

“To cover this great distance is an achievement in itself, but to be doing it for charity as well makes it more worthwhile.

“I’m very passionate about doing this event and supporting St Richard’s Hospice. It is a local charity that has been there for friends and family when they have needed support during difficult times.”

The keen cyclist is already in training for the challenge and says he is most excited to cross the finish line around the same time as the Tour de France.

Last summer’s London to Paris ride saw riders cycling in scorching temperatures, raising money for a host of charities – including St Richard’s.

Mr Cooper says he hopes to raise at least £1,600 for the Worcester-based hospice, helping fund its free care to patients, loved ones and bereaved people across Worcestershire.

Jodi Brandwood, Fundraiser at St Richard’s, said: “We are thrilled to have Aaron on board with this challenge and we wish him all the best with training.

“The London to Paris ride is a tough, but incredible experience and to raise money for our care at the same time is just fantastic. We are so grateful for Aaron’s support!”

To make a donation to Mr Cooper’s fundraising, visit: justgiving.com/aaron-cooper4.

The London to Paris challenge takes place between Thursday, July 24 and Sunday, July 28. It will see cyclists travel through Kent to Dover before crossing the Channel to Calais.

Participants then ride along French country lanes, through market towns, passing war memorials and cemeteries of the Somme before cycling to the Arc de Triomphe and on to the Champs-Élysées.

To join Mr Cooper and sign-up for the ride in support of St Richard’s, visit: www.strichards.org.uk/london-to-paris.

St Richard’s Hospice cares for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment and to their last days. It also supports their loved ones.

Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations for three quarters of its annual £8.8m income with the remainder from the NHS.

The hospice is also raising funds for the Build 2020 Appeal and is part way through developing a bigger hospice, enabling more patients and families to be cared for in Worcestershire.  The total cost for expanding and redeveloping the existing building in Wildwood Drive, Worcester, is £5.3m.

For more information about St Richard’s Hospice visit: www.strichards.org.uk.