A WEST Mercia Police employee is gearing up to take on a 100-mile cycling challenge this weekend to raise funds for two charities.

Nigel Barter, who has worked for the force for 44 years – including 31 years as a police officer – will take part in the Velo Birmingham event on Sunday (September 24) raising funds for Care of Police Survivors and Save the Rhino International.

Nigel, who is now based at Kidderminster police station, took up cycling as a sport four years ago after being diagnosed with diabetes and advised to lose weight.

After losing five stone, he took on the challenge of riding from John O’Groats to Lands’ End last year, days before his 60th birthday, and raising more than £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. The previous year, he raised £2,400 after cycling from London to Paris.

Mr Barter said: “This year, my challenge was to ride in the Revolve 24 hours cycle race at Brands Hatch, in Kent, as a solo rider, and then to complete the Velo Birmingham bike ride this weekend.

“I did the 24 hours ride and covered 84 laps, doing more than 200 miles in rain, fog and cold conditions on a less than friendly undulating race track climbing more than 8,000 feet.

“This weekend’s event will come easier as it will be my 12th 100 plus mile ride in 15 months.”

He added: “I am raising money for Care of Police Survivors that provides support for dependants of police officers that have died whilst on duty. I recently rode in the three-day Police Unity Tour around the force area and into Staffordshire to the national memorial.

“I rode in memory of a former colleague, PC Dave Hopkins, who was killed while on motorcycle patrol policing the round Britain bike race.

“I am also riding for Save the Rhino International as I have a love of animals and recently attended a very interesting talk on the subject at West Midland Safari Park.

“Despite negative publicity, I am pleading with the Worcestershire public to embrace this weekend’s Velo event as I have done closed road events in Chester, London and Yorkshire and seen the massive positive impact they have on the area, especially in drawing in thousands of people to witness the spectacle.”

To donate to Nigel, visit justgiving.com/budgieonabike-revolve24 or justgiving.com/budgieonabike-savetherhino.