A TAUNTON man and 12 friends are belatedly celebrating his 50th birthday by turning back the clock and cycling the length of the UK.

Pete Robinson and his fellow cyclists hope to raise £20,000 for Children's Hospice South West through their John o'Groats to Land's End challenge starting later this month.

The team, all aged 50 to 59, will cover an average 80 miles a day over 12 days in the Old Men Go South ride.

Pete, who turned 50 on January 1, said: "I was looking for a sporting challenge in my 50th year and what started out as a chat in the pub has turned into an adventure of a lifetime with friends, and the chance to raise a stack of cash for a brilliant cause.

"We've had such an amazing response to our story that we reached our original target of £12,000 and decided to raise our target to £20,000 in the hope that CHSW can benefit even more from everyone’s generosity. We’d like to thank everyone for their support."

Joining him are Mark Shepherd, Mike Stevens, Graham Davies, Mark Jones, Guy Johnson, Simon Penny, Neil Glinn, Russ Nurcombe, Ian Yendall, Andy Brooks, Andy Trust and Simon Doyle.

Pete added: "Cycling the length of the UK is the ultimate challenge for many cyclists and completing the 1,000-mile journey in support of CHSW motivates the entire OMGS team and gives the whole event a real sense of purpose.

"CHSW does such important work and being able to support them with a group of friends is a great privilege."

Fundraising activities to date have included a winter charity ball, quiz night and turbo training in Taunton’s Orchard Centre.

The team has been training since October and in January cycled more than 100 miles from Taunton to the CHSW’s Little Bridge House hospice in Barnstaple and back.

CHSW community fundraiser Paula Hullett said: "It was lovely to welcome Pete and some of the team to Little Bridge House and give them a real insight into the difference the charity makes to so many families.

"They have really taken CHSW to their hearts and have done a remarkable job raising money to support our three hospices.

"We would like to thank the team for being such fantastic ambassadors for the charity and wish them all the very best for their JOGLE cycle."

You can make a donation at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MarkJones164 or search for Old Men Go South.

The OMGS riders will set off on their penultimate leg from Taunton to Launceston from Taunton Vale Sports Club on Saturday, June 8, at 8.30am.