203Cyclists of all ages are being urged to get on their bikes and do their bit to help a County Durham charity.

Schoolchildren from Barnard Castle and members of the public are invited to take part in a special fundraising bike ride at the recently refurbished Teesdale Leisure Centre on Wednesday (21 October).

The challenge involves cycling a mile, using either a normal bicycle or one of the leisure centre’s new state-of-the-art exercise bikes, to help complete a total of 300 miles across the day to raise money for local charity A Smile for a Child.

Christopher Read, from Barnard Castle, set up the charity three years ago to provide grants for disabled and disadvantaged children so they can take part and progress in sport.

He said: “I started working part time as a sports coach and wanted to do something different and give something back to society in my spare time.

“I decided to set up the charity and run it on a voluntary basis. It has gone from strength to strength and last year we raised over £100,000.

“The cycle challenge at Teesdale Leisure Centre is a great way to support the work we do and I would encourage as many people as possible to take part.”

Pupils from Montablo, St Mary’s and Green Lane primary schools will be invited to get involved in the challenge.

Cllr Maria Plews, Cabinet member for leisure, Durham County Council, said: “We are pleased to be supporting this event, which is a great opportunity to get active while helping a really worthwhile cause.”

The event takes place between 10am and 5pm and anyone who signs up for a gym membership on the day will receive a month for free.

For more information visit www.durham.gov.uk/leisure