A charity is calling on East Anglians to get pedalling this weekend to help raise thousands of pounds to support children with life-threatening illnesses.

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The 19th Ride for Life will be held in Thetford Forest on Sunday to raise much-needed funds for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

The EDP-sponsored cycling and walking event, which starts and ends at the village green in Santon Downham, has generated more than £700,000 for the charity over the years. This year’s Ride for Life takes place on the 21st anniversary of EACH’s Norfolk hospice at Quidenham, near Attleborough.

More than 600 cyclists and walkers have already signed up to take part and online registration for Sunday’s event has already closed. However, officials from the charity said that last-minute participants were more than welcome to turn up on the day and get involved.

There will be 35 miles and 19 miles on-road cycle routes that start between 8am and 9am and marked off-road routes on forest tracks covering 25 miles and 10 miles that begin from 9am and 10am respectively. People can also walk a nine mile route from 9am or a three mile walk from 10am.

Amongst the participants will be people who use EACH services in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge including the Bensley family, of Bunwell, and the Bobbins family from Terrington St Clement.

A team of 38 family and friends will be taking part on Sunday in memory of Norfolk County Council senior finance officer Nigel Gabriel, 47, of Taverham, near Norwich, who died on January 21 at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge following a brain haemorrhage.

Twenty-one EACH staff will also be getting involved to represent the number of years the Quidenham hospice has been open. Ride for Life regular, Sheila Childerhouse, the chairman of NHS Norfolk and Waveney will also be cycling 35 miles with her family.

EACH delivers care and support to local life-threatened children and their families needs to raise £4.8m from the public to deliver services this year. The charity’s Royal patron the Duchess of Cambridge visited the Ipswich hospice in March.

For more information visit www.each.org.uk or phone 01953 715559.

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