SEVEN women preparing for a gruelling cycle ride will draw strength from the work of a charity to help them reach the finish line.

The group of friends, calling themselves The Magnificent Seven, will attempt the 141 mile Coast 2 Coast route next month (September).

They hope to raise a large amount of money through sponsorship and a raffle for The Friends of Weardale Community Hospital, in Stanhope.

Caroline Batson, a 34-year-old revenues officer, from Tow Law, said: “We all agreed we wanted to see if we could do it.

“Being such a big ride and as we didn’t cycle before it is a real challenge so we really wanted to do it for a charity.

“Through our jobs and other events we’ve supported bigger national charity appeals so wanted to support a local cause that the community would get behind.”

Mrs Batson’s fellow riders are Carrie Beattie, of Wolsingham; Joanne Robson, Vicky Bowes and Emma Scott, all from Tow Law; Samantha Forrest, of Spennymoor; and Vicky Watson, from Bishop Auckland.

Between Friday, September 5 and Sunday, September 7 they will cycle from the west coast at Workington, in Cumbria, to the east at Tynemouth, in North Tyneside.

The group set themselves the challenge last Christmas and have been in training since spring, balancing it with work and family commitments as most have children.

If their pedal power falters during the ride they will be inspired to keep going by the knowledge the funds they raise will help expand the facilities at the hospital for rehabilitation, mental health day care and a neurological day hospice.

Mrs Batson said: “Fitness wise we all feel great and didn’t expect to enjoy it as much, even though we’re sore afterwards, but the charity aspect is really driving us.

“After having a look around the hospital we saw it is a beautiful place, if we can help make it bigger it will benefit many more people from this area.”

The hospital offers a range of health care services for people from across the Wear Valley area including 24 hour nursing care and pain relief for patients suffering degenerative and terminal illness.

Deborah Batson, Sharon Carpenter, Lisa Clement, Claire Glendenning and Dawn Rose will be support drivers over the weekend.

To sponsor the riders contact, visit the fundraising page or text MAGN47 followed by £1, £2, £3, £5 or £10 to 70070.