CHURCH members are to take part in a 200-mile cycle to raise funds for the victims of the winter flooding.

Members of the Diocese of Durham will start out from Newcastle on Thursday (May 8) and aim to reach Edinburgh by Sunday.

Riders have been training hard for the challenge.

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The team includes Darlington clergyman Reverend Damon Bage, vicar of the St Mary’s Church in Cockerton.

Stewart Burton, a reader from St Hilda’s Church, in Hartlepool, will also take part.

Rev Bage, who originally started cycling to lose weight, completed the route back in 2012 and raised £4,500 for the Butterwick Hospice, in Stockton.

He said: “This time, we discussed all sorts of charities, and then we heard about the appeal to raise money to help those who have been affected by the terrible flooding in the UK.

Church Urban Fund has set up flood appeal and any funds raised will go directly to that.”

The charity’s chairman, Paul Hackwood, said: “We are delighted to hear the team has chosen to support our flood appeal.”

The charity has already funded a number of projects in order to provide emergency food supplies, financial support and temporary accommodation for those affected.