A CYCLING enthusiast aims to ride the length of the UK before his 80th birthday in memory of his friend.

Reg Pharoah, 79, of Govilon, will be cycling more than 1,000km from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of Marie Curie. He aims to complete the trip, which is in honour of his friend Eric Hodge, in 14 days.

The two friends were members of the Cardiff Ajax Cycling Club, where Mr Pharoah is still president, which has supported professional cyclists including Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe.

He said: “Eric was a former Welsh Guard and rode from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2009.

“He rode to raise money in aid of Help for Heroes and even had an army support vehicle with him. He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to do it again when he was 80 years old. Sadly it wasn’t to be and he passed away from cancer six months after he was diagnosed.

“I decided as I’m turning 80 next month to cycle in his honour. Eric would be right behind me. He is someone who I owe a lot to – he was great at giving advice.”

Mr Pharoah along with his son Nick, 54, will be aiming to cycle 60 miles a day and will set off on July 24. He has previously don the route nine years ago along with 11 other riders who raised £10,000 for Ty Hafan.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to it. It’s amazing the amount of people you bump into along the route who are doing the same journey. There are so many different routes to take, we will be popping back into Abergavenny for ours.

“It will be a lot harder this time around as I’m approaching my 80th birthday in August. I haven’t managed to do as much training as I would like but the key is to go steady. There are a few climbs, the hilliest part being in Cornwall but you go through that part quite quickly.”

The keen cyclist was given a Torch Trophy Trust award for his service to cycling by Princes Anne in March and was named Welsh Cycling’s unsung hero for 2013.

lTo donate, visit justgiving.com/rideforeric