TWO North-East grandfathers are preparing to pedal across the country to support regional health charities.

Ray Smith, 62, and Alan Schofield, 59, will be heading off on the Coast-to-Coast route next month to raise money for Durham's St Cuthbert's Hospice and Newcastle's Freeman Hospital Liver Transplant Unit. Though they are both keen cyclists, it will be the first time the veterans, who have seven grandchildren between them, have taken on the 140-mile challenge.

The venture will also mark a fundraising debut for Mr Schofield who comes from Broompark, west Durham.

But for Mr Smith, who is the postmaster at Nevilles Cross Post Office, it will be one more milestone among his many fundraising successes for good causes.

During recent years cyclist Mr Smith has raised more than £5,000 for different charities.

"Alan and I are both keen cyclists and so we decided that, as well as enjoying our outings, we would try and raise some money by taking part in the Coast-to-Coast route,'' said Mr Smith.

The pair will set off on August 22 and plan to take three days to complete the course.

Anyone wishing to sponsor them is asked to contact Mr Smith on 0191-384 3237.