Take part in the EDP Ride for Life

People are being urged to get on their bikes to help children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The EDP Ride for Life is returning to Santon Downham in Thetford Forest in May to raise money to provide vital East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) services including short break care, specialist play activities, therapy and support groups for families.

A total of �671,000 has been raised for the charity over the 18 years the ride has been going.

Last year around 900 people took part in the event, but the charity is hoping to rally more than 1,000 people to take part this year.

Tracy Rennie, EACH Director of Care, said: 'EACH continues to develop the quality and range of care services to local children, young people and their families.

'We provide that care and support wherever the family wishes - in families' own homes, in the community or at our local hospice in Quidenham.

'We need to raise around �4m in voluntary donations each year to deliver these vital services, demonstrating exactly why events like Ride For Life are so vital. I hope you are able to join us.'

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It is one of the biggest fundraising events for the charity.

Karen Chesney, EACH events fundraiser, said: 'Ride For Life has been going since 1994 and goes from strength to strength every year.

'We need to encourage cyclists and walkers, either past participants or those who have never got involved before, to dust off their saddles and dig out their walking shoes.

'Not only will you be able to get out and get fit while experiencing the breathtaking scenery of Thetford Forest with family and friends, but you'll also have the satisfaction of knowing you're raising vital funds to provide care and support to life-threatened children and their families.

'Even if you don't participate in the cycle rides or walks and decide to spectate instead, there will still be plenty to see and do. There will be many different refreshment stalls and entertainment on offer including live musical performances. It really is a great day out for all the family.'

As well as giving care in people's homes, the charity runs hospices in Quidenham, near Diss, Ipswich and Milton, near Cambridge.

This year's EDP Ride For Life takes place on May 15 at Santon Downham in Thetford Forest.

There are a number of routes available this year including on-road 19 mile and 35 mile routes, off-road 10 mile and 25 mile routes. You can also walk or jog the three-mile and nine-mile routes.

• annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk