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Cyclists set off from Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford on Ride4Life fundraising challenge

By Jenna Dobbs

A group of cyclists have set off on an epic fundraising journey to raise money for hospital equipment.

The 30-strong team are embarking on Valley Hospital Charity's Ride4Life challenge - a 334 mile cycle ride from Dartford to Amsterdam.

Made up of members of the public and hospital staff, the fundraisers are on track to beat their £50,000 target to support two projects at Darent Valley Hospital.

Ride4Life fundraisers start their journey at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford
Ride4Life fundraisers start their journey at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford

It is hoped the money will help purchase a 3D imaging tool to detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, and aid the upgrade and expansion of Darent Valley's Special Care Baby Unit, Walnut Ward.

At 7am this morning, the cyclists set off on day one of their adventure, riding more than 70 miles through Kent to catch the ferry into Calais from Dover.

Tomorrow the group will travel towards Dunkirk, reaching the border with Belgium by lunchtime before an evening stay in Bruges - 83 miles later.

Day three will see the team head north, crossing into the Netherlands and taking a ferry ride to the port of Vlissingen, before finishing the day's cycle route in the city of Breda.

Ride4Life fundraisers get ready for their epic journey to raise money for Darent Valley Hospital
Ride4Life fundraisers get ready for their epic journey to raise money for Darent Valley Hospital

On day four, the fundraisers will pedal 90 miles into Amsterdam where they can finally celebrate their epic achievement, catching the Eurostar back to Ebbsfleet the following day.

Head of fundraising at Darent Valley Hospital, Sally George, who organised the trip, said: "Our riders have been working hard to get fit and ready for the miles in the saddle, while raising money for the two projects at the hospital.

"I’m sure there will be tough moments, but we will support each other to get to the end, and share the huge sense of achievement when we reach Amsterdam."

To follow the riders' progress, visit @valleyhospitalcharity on Facebook. To donate, click here.

Ride4Life cyclists will be travelling more than 300 miles to raise money for Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford
Ride4Life cyclists will be travelling more than 300 miles to raise money for Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford

The event is being delivered by tour operator Discover Adventure and has been sponsored by Artic Building Services Ltd, of Schooner Park, Dartford, which funded the team's jerseys.

Valley Hospital Charity supports the work of Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust and is based at Darent Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford.

Read more: All the latest news from Dartford

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