Duo ready for the off

ALL SET: David Gray (left) and Ian Varty saddle up for their mega-challenge for charity
ALL SET: David Gray (left) and Ian Varty saddle up for their mega-challenge for charity
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A DUO of dynamic health service workers are set to take on the ultimate in charity cycling challenges.

David Gray and Ian Varty, who both work in the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s ICT department, are tackling a 960 mile bike ride – the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The two will be part of an eight person team, each riding 120 miles in the space of six hours or less.

The time limit means each rider will have to keep to a pace of around 20mph for the duration of the challenge at the Masonic Hall in Shildon.

It will be held over a 24 hour period on June 15.

Ian and David will be raising money for CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and young people and their families.

As part of their training, ICT helpdesk technician David and ICT support officer Ian have both been cycling to and from work at the University Hospital of North Tees.

David, who lives in Hartlepool, said: “We both got involved because we wanted to raise money for a charity while also taking on a physical challenge that we could prepare for.

“This is the motivation we needed to get ourselves fit and in really good shape.

“Over the last few weeks we have been cycling in to work as often as we can. For me, that’s about a 25-mile round trip.

“I have also been doing lots of training in my own time around Hartlepool, so I am confident that I will be prepared for it.

“There isn’t long to go now and we are both looking forward to it.”

Ian, who lives in Bishop Auckland, said: “I usually take on a couple of challenges every year. Last year I did the coast to coast cycle ride and fancied doing something different this year.

“Cycling is a great way of keeping healthy and relaxing outside of work. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get fit.

“Especially with the summer coming up, it is an ideal time for people to get out on their bikes for a ride.”

Earlier this year, the trust was recognised for the fitness of its staff. It received a gold award in the North East Better Health at Work Awards.

And the trust has been building on this success with the recent launch of its health and wellbeing strategy which helps workers to live healthier lifestyles.

The aims of the scheme include reducing staff absence from ill health and getting more working involved in health and wellbeing activities.

To donate to David and Ian visit www.justgiving.com/Ian-Varty1/