The first Crocus Week kicks off in dramatic style today with a coast-to-coast cycle challenge and an abseil down the side of the Jury’s Inn hotel in the city centre heralding the start of the fundraising drive.

During the week, which runs until Sunday, May 18, individuals, groups, schools and businesses are being encouraged to hold their own fundraising events towards our £1 million appeal to help researchers at the University of Bradford in their fight against cancer.

Cycling has proved to be a popular challenge, with a number of staff from the university starting the 140-mile coast-to-coast route today, and Paul Singh, sales director for Inprint & Design, based at the university, set to take on the MITIE London Revolution Event next weekend.

The 185-mile course, the UK’s biggest two-day sportive, takes in a host of Olympic sites and iconic London landmarks, and Mr Singh, 50, is adding an extra 30 miles to the route to take his personal challenge beyond the 200-mile barrier.

“I’ve done lots of charity events before, but this is the first one for the Crocus Appeal,” he said. “Cancer is something that affects everyone, so the charity is very close to us at the university, and very important locally for Bradford.

“I’m passionate about cycling, and really looking forward to the event, especially doing it for such a good cause.”

The Telegraph & Argus is working with the university, Yorkshire Cancer Research, and the Sovereign Healthcare Charitable Trust to raise £1 million for the discovery and development of new cancer medicines at the University’s Institute of Cancer Therapeutics.

A number of schools and businesses across the Bradford district have already pledged their support to the week, with cake sales, non-uniform and pyjama days, and other events set to boost the appeal towards its target.

Victoria Collins, development officer at the university, said: “Crocus Week is here and it is great to see how much support we’ve had from the local community.

“I’d like to thank everyone who will be getting involved.”

“Hopefully we will raise lots of money, as well as increasing awareness of the appeal and why it is so important.”

Visit the to find out more about the appeal and get involved.