THE return of a much-loved charity event has been hailed a "huge success".

Farleigh Hospice’s Cycle for Life returned at the end of September after last year's hiatus.

More than 340 cyclists got on their bikes in the Chelmsford cycle event to fundraise for the mid Essex charity.

Among these Good Samaritans was David Van Haaren and his puppy Woody.

This was David's third Cycle for Life as a keen cyclist, but it was his 18-month-old puppy's first ride as the pair completed the 50k route together.

David said: "I thought it might help motivate people to sponsor me if I added the cute factor in and involved Woody on the day.

"He had a great time, and especially loved the fuss the Farleigh team made of him at the finish when he got his medal.

"I’ve always been a keen cyclist, but I had an operation on my back five years ago, which has limited how far I can cycle now. It’s fantastic that I’m still able to get out on my bike at all really.

"I like to support our local hospice charities as much as I can. I know a few people who have been cared for by Farleigh and that’s why I like to raise money for them.

"A friend of mine recently passed away, he received care from the Farleigh Hospice at Home team, so this year’s cycle was in his memory.

"The hospice movement is very close to my heart, they do such great work and it’s not recognised enough, they really do deserve every penny they can get.”

Cycle for Life is a sponsorship event and relies on riders raising as much money as they can for the hospice to care for people in mid Essex affected by life-limiting illness and bereavement.

It offers participants three routes; 20, 50 and 100 km.

In this year's event more than £20,000 has been raised so far for the charity.

Debbie de Boltz, fundraising manager at Farleigh Hospice said: "It was wonderful to be able to hold Cycle for Life again.

"It has always been a hit among the local community, and, as predicted, it was well attended again this year.

"We’re still collecting sponsorship money, but so far, we have raised over £20,000, which is just fantastic.

"Every penny raised by participants goes towards helping us provide vital care and support to our community.

"It’s been a tough 18 months for us in terms of fundraising, and we really are grateful to all of our participants, volunteers, and the local business that donated their time, skills and equipment to help make the day such a success.”

Anyone interested in future Farleigh fundraising events is encouraged to visit