OLD Newtown Primary pupils are gearing up for a 280-mile ride which was inspired by a former Trowbridge resident who survived a cancer battle.

Former Trowbridge resident Lee Rycraft and 14 friends will cycle from York to Bath on their Roman Ride challenge, chosen as both cities have Roman heritage, from September 21-23. Mr Rycraft took on the challenge to raise funds for the charities that supported his mum, Karen, after she was diagnosed with cancer in her tonsil. The 62-year-old, who now lives near York, had a lifesaving and lifechanging operation last year to remove a tumour in her mouth which has left her unable to eat, drink or talk properly. She was a practice nurse for 29 years in Wiltshire, working at St Margaret’s Surgery in Bradford and Westbury’s White Horse Health Centre.

"We lived in Broadmead, Trowbridge, all our lives until recently and nine of my school mates still live there. It should be great,” he said.

"We came up with this idea in the pub and everyone got onboard. We studied at Newtown and then John of Gaunt and we have stayed in touch. We are a unique group of friends.

"When we started out in January, we were not very fit. But we have been training hard for nine months and we are raring to go.

"Last weekend we had a big music event in Southwick Village Hall and 150 people along which was great.

"It is very exciting because Heart Radio are covering the whole event. We ride from York to Lincoln, then onto Stratford Upon Avon and then to Bath. We have raised over £11,000 but we are aiming for £15,000 so fingers crossed."

Mrs Rycraft received treatment at Bath's Royal United Hospital and then at another one in York too.

To donate visit ycr.org.uk/romanride