On your bike for forest charity ride

The final countdown has begun and hundreds of families are gearing up for a day out in beautiful Norfolk woodland this weekend.As well as being good fun and fantastic exercise in the fresh air, a stroll or a cycle ride through the trees at Thetford Forest on Sunday is expected tor raise thousands of pounds for life-limited children.

The final countdown has begun and hundreds of families are gearing up for a day out in beautiful Norfolk woodland this weekend.

As well as being good fun and fantastic exercise in the fresh air, a stroll or a cycle ride through the trees at Thetford Forest on Sunday is expected tor raise thousands of pounds for life-limited children.

Ride for Life, in aid of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (Each) and sponsored by the Times's sister paper the EDP, is now in its 16th year and has become a popular perennial on the region's calendar of outdoor summer events.

The non-competitive walks and cycle routes for every age and fitness level are designed for the whole family to enjoy at their own pace while taking in the scenery and perhaps stopping for a picnic en route.

And at the end of the course, those taking part and their supporters can take a well-earned rest on the village green at Santon Downham, which will be decked out with stalls, a barbecue and refreshment stands to welcome the finishers home.

Although Ride for Life is just days away, it's not too late to take part - simply turn up at Santon Downham on Sunday at least 30 minutes before the start of your chosen route.

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Every penny raised through sponsorship will go directly to Each's outreach community work and palliative care at its hospices in Quidenham, Milton, near Cambridge, and Ipswich.

Children can stay at the hospice for respite care, with or without their families present, enjoy the sensory garden and specialist play rooms and make new friends.

The support offered by Each, which is extended to the entire family, is completely free for those in need but costs the charity millions - which is why Ride for Life is so vital.

Each plans to expand its base at Quidenham to increase the number of children's bedrooms from four to six and create a new self-contained family suite.

It also needs �5.5m to provide services in all three hospices this year, �60,000 of which, with your support, could come from Ride for Life.

Simon Hempsall from Each said: “With the promising forecasts hinting at a long hot summer, Ride for Life is the perfect way for all the family to get into the summer outdoor mood.

“With the choice of different rides and walks, the idyllic delights of Thetford Forest and the fun carnival atmosphere back at Santon Downham's village green, it all makes for a wonderful day out.

“It's an event for all ages and abilities and it's not a race so everyone can take their time - so come and join the fun and bring your family and friends.”

Entry costs �8 for adults, �4 for children, with special rates for families and teams. Walkers pay just �4.

Start times:

CYCLE RIDES

On-road 19 miles - 8.30am

On-road 35 miles - 8am

Off-road 10 miles - 10am

Off-road 25 miles - 9am

WALKS

3 miles - 10am (suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs)

9 miles - 9am

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