EIGHT ‘blokes on bikes’ are tackling a gruelling cycling challenge to raise cash for three charities.

The friends from Huddersfield are tackling the Coast to Coast bike ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland over the May Day bank holiday weekend.

Calling themselves ‘Blokes on a Bike’ the group aims to cover the 150 miles in three days and raise thousands of pounds for charity.

The group includes Sean Robertshaw, vicar of Christ Church, New Mill; Mark Brockway, Neil Coventry, Graham Butcher, Tim Thornton, Tim Stimpson, James Moorhouse and Richard Hanson.

They want to raise £6,000 to be divided between three charities – Help for Heroes, Christ Church, New Mill and Lupus UK.

Richard said “The idea for the ride came about due to a chance conversation with Sean about wanting to undertake a major challenge in aid of charity.

“We wanted it to be a challenge that anyone could do with a little preparation, but challenging enough to be a real test. Having decided on Coast to Coast we spread the word and have gathered together the Eight Blokes on a Bike team plus support.”

Tim added: “We chose to support our chosen charities for many reason.

“Help for Heroes for me is a wonderful charity. The men and women are not only brave and courageous in the job they do, but many of them have also to be brave and courageous, adapting to life following horrific injuries.

“I’m lucky that I am fit and healthy enough to be able to do a little bit to raise some money to contribute towards their long rehabilitation programmes.’’

James added: “Christ Church is my local parish church and lots of good community things happen there.

“The building is being adapted to make it more accessible to the whole community for concerts, exhibitions and for church services.”

Graham said: “Our final charity, Lupus UK, is the only national charity supporting people with the immune system illness Lupus.

“It also provides funding for medical research into this life-threatening and debilitating illness and I have seen the effects of at first hand.”

Follow their progress at www.blokesonabike.co.uk where there is a just giving website for donations.