A WELL-KNOWN Blackburn GP is hopping on his bike and cycling 200km after coronavirus forced the cancellation of a mass charity event.

Cancer specialist Neil Smith, a GP at Oakenhurst Medical centre for 25 years, had been set to take part in the Race for Life at Witton Park.

He will instead by joined by a gang of his pals cycling the Leeds to Liverpool canal route to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Neil, who also works as stadium doctor for Blackburn Rovers, said: “I had hoped to take part in Race for Life at Witton Park this summer, which has sadly been cancelled, so was keen to still be involved and do my bit for Cancer Research UK during a time when it’s fundraising efforts have been so badly hit.

“Keeping active is particularly important at the moment to help mental wellbeing and after months of us all being stuck at home in quarantine.

“Coming out of lockdown, I feel particularly concerned about the number of patients who are going to face a late cancer diagnosis when treatment might be more challenging and all the people who haven’t been able to attend screening appointments for the past few months. The work of Cancer Research UK will be more important than ever.”

He will be cycling the 200 km journey in two separate legs.

The 53-year-old father-of-four, who is the Cancer Research UK Strategy Lead GP covering Lancashire and Cumbria, and his colleagues are encouraging other people to take part in the Race for Life at Home challenge.

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North West, said: “At a time when it felt like everything has been at a standstill, there is one thing that hasn’t stopped, cancer.

“Our priority as a charity is ensuring that people affected by cancer are getting the support they need right now.

“From a run or 5K walk around the garden to limbo in the living room or a bike ride like Neil is doing, there is no wrong way to Race for Life at Home. With no entry fee, people might choose to twerk, limbo, star jump, squat, skip, dance, or come up with their own novel way of taking part and share it with friends.

“The message is very much that ‘while we might be apart, we’re doing this together’. There is no wrong way to get involved and join our community.”

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/neil-smith2018

Visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770. Join in and share with #RaceForLifeAtHome