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A MAN will cycle the length of Britain to raise money to help neglected children.

Rick Gill, 60, hopes to raise £2,000 for charity Childhood First by cycling almost 1,000 miles from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to John O’ Groats, in Scotland.

During his nine-day challenge, he will travel an average of 108 miles each day.

Mr Gill, of Laburnum Way, Rayleigh, said: “It was my 60th birthday, so I thought: ‘What mad thing can I do?’ “I signed up for the ride last October and with winter approaching I needed a goal.”

To prepare for the journey, which is equal to climbing Mount Everest one and a half times and the Alpe d’Huez in France 13 times, Mr Gill has been in training for the past 10 months.

In the lead-up to the challenge, He has gone from cycling 60 miles per week to between 150 and 200.

He said: “It’s about building endurance. Potentially, injury could ruin the whole thing. I’m being positive and hoping nothing will happen.

“I’m getting through it by hook or by crook.”

Mr Gill will join 800 riders from across the country on the organised cycle. He took up cycling two years ago because of health concerns and has gone on to lose two stone in weight.

Mr Gill’s daughter works for Childhood First, which offers emotional support for children who have suffered abuse or neglect.

He said: “It’s such a worthwhile cause. I hope this raises awareness of the charity and people will support it.

“I’m relying on camaraderie to get me through it. At the moment, it’s a physical challenge, the mental challenge hasn’t set in yet.

“I’ve lost two stone and I feel fitter than I’ve felt all my life.

“There’s got to be another challenge after this, I just don’t know what it will be.”

Mr Gill has already raised £500 and will set off from Land’s End on Saturday, September 6.

To donate, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RichardGill18