A FIREFIGHTER has completed a challenging cycle ride from London to Newcastle in less than 24 hours.

Steven Birbeck, who works at Consett Fire Station, was one of 130 cyclists who set off from Finsbury Park in London at 10am on Saturday and arrived at the Newcastle side of the Millennium Bridge at 9am the following day, completing the 310-mile route in 23 hours.

Mr Birbeck decided to take part in the gruelling ride to raise money for the Fraja Ellie Appeal, which aims to fund relapse therapy unavailable on the NHS for six-year-old Fraja Simpson, of RAF Leeming, near Bedale, North Yorkshire, should her MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma, return.

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He lives near Fraja’s grandfather and his epic ride has so far managed to raise £2,100 for the appeal with more donations still to come through.

Mr Birbeck was pleased to have finished in the top 30, but said the best surprise was being greeted by Fraja, who had waited at the finishing line with her grandfather.

He said he had “thoroughly enjoyed” the whole experience, describing it as “absolutely brilliant”.

For details about the £500,000 appeal, visit ffnbs.co.uk/fraja-ellie/