INTREPID Toby Simpson is preparing to embark on a 4,500 kilometre bike ride in 40 days to raise money for two charities close to his heart.

And Toby, 25, has an important date to get back for - his Granny and Grandad's diamond wedding anniversary.

Toby will set off from his family home in Darlington on June 1 and ride around the country, passing through all 15 national parks on the way.

He decided to tackle the adventure because a gene mutation that causes premature cancers runs through his extended family, and he wants to raise money for a charity - The Eve Appeal - that was set up to pioneer research.

He is also raising money for The Walk & Talk Trust, which was recently launched with the support of The Northern Echo, and has launched a campaign called The Big Smile, aimed at boosting physical and mental health.

Toby's dad, Geoff, is chief executive of the charity, which aims to raise money to give free walking boots to thousands of children and disadvantaged adults.

Toby said: "They are both brilliant charities with family connections and I want to raise as much as possible."

He is already well on the way to reaching his original target of raising £4,500.