Toe-to-tip challenge for Aylsham cycling couple

Husband and wife Paul and Ellie Baker are in training for a sponsored cycling marathon which will take them nearly 1,000 miles from one end of Britain to the other over a 20-day period.

Mr and Mrs Baker set off on their Land's End to John o' Groats challenge next week and aim to pedal a daily average of 55 miles, with just two rest days planned into their tight schedule.

The couple, from Aylsham, hope to raise about �1,000 - equivalent to �1 per mile - for the Arthur Rank Hospice, in Cambridge, which cared for Mrs Baker's terminally-ill aunt, Jane Buckland, until her death in February last year.

Mrs Buckland, a talented artist, had also been a dedicated member of the Green Party and would have approved of the couple's choice of travel, according to Mrs Baker, 55.

Mrs Baker's mother, the artist Ruth Barker, had died the previous year and the bereavements had made the couple think hard about what they wanted to achieve in their lives, according to Mr Baker, who will celebrate his 51st birthday on May 17, the first day of the ride.

Mrs Barker had been a mainstay of the progressive Norwich Twenty Group.

The Bakers have been cycling hard around Norfolk in preparation, at weekends and in the evenings after work. Mr Baker is a producer with the BBC in Norwich, working on programmes including Inside Out, and his wife is a dyslexia tutor who is studying part-time for an MA in education and international development.

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Their route will take them from Cornwall via Bristol, Chester, Liverpool and the Lake District and they will face their longest daily ride, of 80 miles, once they enter Scotland, in the mountainous area from Stirling to Glen Coe.

Despite Norfolk's reputation as a flat county, Mr Baker said they had found some challenging hills to tackle along the Cromer Ridge.

He added: 'It will be tough, but there is a limit to how much we can prepare - just being on the bikes helps.'

To sponsor the Bakers online visit: www.justgiving.com/Ellie-Paul-Baker0

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