A FUNDRAISING bike ride through the Essex countryside is hoped to have raised over £30,000 for a local children’s hospice.

Riders set off from Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford on the Little Havens Hospice charity’s popular Essex Countryside Bike Ride, and rode through villages including Great Waltham, West Hanningfield and North Heath.

Participants could choose from either the family-friendly 10 mile route, or test their endurance with the 25 or 60 mile course and take part as an individual or as part of a team.

The cycle was part of a series of events held throughout the UK to mark Bike Week (15-22 June), held every year to encourage more people to get in the saddle.

The event takes place every year raising vital funds for Little Havens Hospice, which provides respite breaks and cares for children with life-limiting illnesses from across Essex.

Father and daughter duo Brian, 39, and Hannah Eastall, 8, from Tiptree, rode the 10-mile route together.

Brian said: “We really like going out on our bikes together and Little Havens is a good cause. We have both been practicing and did another 10 mile ride a few weeks back so we feel ready to take part today.

“We’ve also got other members of our family here to cheer us on so it’s a brilliant family event.”

Sponsorship raised by the 400 cyclists should reach £30,000 for Little Havens Hospice, which is part of charity Havens Hospices. The hospice doesn’t charge a penny for its specialist care but relies on fundraising events like the bike ride to exist.