A PLUCKY pensioner hopes to raise thousands of pounds for a hospice by taking on a mammoth cycling challenge.

John Snow, who is 72 and lives in Colne Engaine, competed in the 100-mile Velo Birmingham and Midlands Charity Cycle Ride to raise money for St Helena Hospice on Sunday.

Mr Snow is no stranger to getting on his bike and cycles about 70 miles every week.

He was also an avid cyclist in his youth, winning six races before his knees “wore out” at the age of 17.

Mr Snow said: “I was told I needed injections but decided not to and gave up cycling for 40 years. When I started again in 2004 the knees were fine and I’ve done the London to Paris ride three times since, and others in South Wales.”

John, who is a member of a cycling group called the Randonneurs Road Club which is based in Coggeshall, says cycle racing is in his blood and firmly believes it is good for him.

“I’ve lost getting on for a stone since I returned to the bike so it’s good for your health,” he said.

Mr Snow had already raised £2,000 for St Helena Hospice before setting off on his Midlands escapade, due to donations from friends and members at Braintree Golf Club, where he is a member.

He said: “I set a target of £2,000 and with Gift Aid we should raise a lot more.”

Mr Snow decided to raise funds for the charity after a presentation about the hospice at the golf club.

“I was very impressed by a presentation from the hospice people during the Lady Captain’s event at the golf club so I wanted to do something to help,” he said.

“I was surprised to hear it costs around £8.7 million a year to run the charity so I wanted to help.”

Mr Snow was joined some 17,000 other cyclists on Sunday for the 100-mile circular route around the Birmingham area, taking in Coventry and Solihull.