The Ford RideLondon-Essex cycling challenge, which takes place later this month, is set to raise thousands for charities in the county.

An estimated 25,000 riders are expected to take part in the event on Sunday, May 26 - which runs through Great Dunmow - with many raising money for good causes.

As well as many national charities, are number of charities from Essex will be represented.

These include Aoife's Bubbles, which was founded in 2019 in memory of three-year-old Aoife Flanagan, who died just five days after her diagnosis with germ cell cancer.

Aoife's Bubbles is the UK's only registered childhood germ cell cancer charity, and is hoping to raise £1,500 - with four riders participating in the event, including Aoife's aunt Natalie Payne.

Natalie said: "On my handlebars will be one of Aoife's favourite bears so that we can complete the cycle as a pair.  

"I will be riding for Aoife, for every child, and for a future without childhood cancer, which together we can beat."

Five riders will be running for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT), and are hoping to raise between £2,000 and £3,000.

Two people taking on the challenge are Ben Usher and his girlfriend Terri.

Ben said: "We did Ford RideLondon-Essex last year with friends socially, and we decided we wanted to challenge ourselves further.

"The aim is to race it and to try and complete it in under five hours, so that’ll be averaging 20mph or more. 

"Terri’s the stronger cyclist so it’ll be tough trying to stay with her, but we are looking forward to achieving this challenge together."

Dunmow Broadcast: Rona Slater is riding for CLEFTRona Slater is riding for CLEFT (Image: Essex County Council)

Rona Slater will be taking on the cycle ride for Writtle-based charity CLEFT, which helps children born with cleft lip and palate.

Rona became a trustee of the charity after retiring from her role as a consultant plastic surgeon, specialising in cleft lip and palate for 24 years.

She said: "Riding 100 miles in the time allowed is a big challenge for me - I just never seem to go quite fast enough!  

"But, with a fair wind, I’ll get there. And my brother, nephew and nephew-in-law will all get there no problem."

Nick Traynor is taking part in aid of Colchester-based MS-UK, which has supported him since his wife's diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.

He said: "I have found MS-UK to be a wonderfully supportive charity, truly embodying their mission and vision, to support people affected with MS to live healthier and happier lives.


"It’s a true pleasure to take part in their events, such as for the forthcoming Ford RideLondon-Essex 100-mile ride."

Jason Fergus, head of Active Essex, said: “As well as hundreds of national charities, it is fantastic to see so many local charities represented in Ford RideLondon-Essex raising much needed funds for good causes here in Essex.

"I’d like to wish all the riders taking part the best of luck and if you live near the route, why not come along on the day to cheer them on Sunday, May 26?”