WILL Straw, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the Valley, is hoping to raise a four-figure sum for Rossendale Hospice by cycling from Westminster to Rawtenstall this weekend.

Inspired by the Tour de France, Will and three of his friends from university will be riding 230 miles from London to Birmingham tomorrow, Birmingham to Manchester on Saturday, and Manchester to Rossendale on Sunday in the hopes of raising at least £1,000.

He said: “I’ve known a lot of people who use the hospice.

“And I’ve heard first hand about the great work they do in the community for people with life-limiting illnesses.

“It’s one of the most deserving charities in Lancashire.

“And we’d like to raise as much money as we can for them.

“It’s the hardest cycling challenge I’ve done. I’ve done 100 miles in a day before.

“ But I’ve never done 200 in two days. It’s going to be hard to get back on my bike on Saturday morning.

“ But it’s for a very good cause and I’ve been doing stretches where you cycle 100 or 200-metres as fast as you can, which knackers you but builds up your strength.

“I’ll miss my son, Matthew, who’s nine months old, while I’m gone “But I’ve promised my wife I’ll do the childcare when I get back.”

The team, including Will’s pals Sam Blake, a lawyer from Samlesbury, Will Gresford from Oxfordshire and Edmund Howard from Surrey, who work in the music industry, have so far raised £475.

To donate, visit the website which is at www.justgiving.com/Will-Straw.

Will will also be posting updates about his journey on Twitter via his handle @wdjstraw.