A GREAT-GRANDAD has begun an epic journey, cycling hundreds of miles across the UK for charity.

Simonstone man Fred Uttley left St John’s Cathedral, in Salford, on Sunday morning, at the start of his epic 1,100-mile sponsored cycle around the 22 dioceses of England and Wales, in aid of CAFOD’s Hungry for Change campaign.

Since then, his Twitter feed has featured pictures of him in front of a Mersey ferry, in driving rain, and details of his arrivals in Shrewsbury and Cardiff.

Yesterday at 3pm, he was crossing the Welsh/English border.

An hour later, his followers were shown a picture of St Joseph’s Church, in Lydney, Gloucestershire, where the building was decked out in bunting to wel- come Fred.

The 68-year-old is hoping to raise awareness of world hunger, and much-needed cash for farmers in Bangladesh, through Catholic aid agency, CAFOD.

As he set off, Fred said that the inspiration for his bike ride came out of the blue, as an alternative to his regular fundraising quiz.

He said: “I wanted to think of another way to raise money, so I was sitting at home and then it came to me – ‘Why don’t I do a bike ride round each of the dioceses in the UK for CAFOD?’ “I haven’t ridden a bike in 50 years, so I think the distance will the biggest challenge!”

The former plumber is joined by his niece’s husband, Mark Brown, a former soldier who lost his arm in an accident, and went on to win silver medal at the Sydney Paralympic Games in 2000. The third member of the team is The Broken Biscuit author John Cowell, from Burnley, described by Fred as ‘support driver, communicator, planner of routes, medic, author and chef'.

After two loops of the country, the trio will arrive back at Manchester’s Holy Name Church on June 28, having visited more than 25 schools, churches, and cathedrals, in more than 30 villages, towns and cities.

All cash raised will go towards the ‘Hungry for Change’ campaign, which is calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to take action to fix the global food system.

Fred can be sponsored at www. justgiving.com/tourdefred. An interactive map is available at the website www.cafod.org.uk/ tourdefred. Fred’s journey can be followed on Twitter @LeTour deFred