A CONSULTANT working at Airedale Hospital is gearing up for a 500 kilometre charity bike ride, despite only seriously taking up cycling earlier this year.

Dr Chris Healey, 53, will raise money for the blood cancer charity Bloodwise, by cycling from London to Paris in four days with his 24-year-old son Joseph.

Dr Healey's mother-in-law, Valerie Tansley, is being treated for non-hodgkin lymphoma.

She was diagnosed more than two years ago but her condition became much more aggressive last year and she has recently finished receiving an intensive course of chemotherapy.

Dr Healey, who lives in Steeton and is a consultant gastroenterologist, said: "Seeing what Valerie was going through made me want to help by raising money to further research and improve care for suffers of lymphoma and leukaemia.

"This is a great challenge and we hope to raise over £2,000 pounds."

Earlier this month, he got his fundraising off to a celebrity start by meeting the Calendar Girls at Burnsall for a photoshoot.

These women first shot to fame in 1999 after producing a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research under the auspices of the Women's Institute. They remain strong supporters of the cause of Leukaemia Research.

Dr Healey said: "I happened to have met a couple of the Calendar Girls before and knew they'd raised money for Leukaemia Research.

"The charity I've chosen to support is called Bloodwise, but it's the same cause which now has a different name, so I asked the Calendar Girls if they'd promote what Joseph and I are doing and they said yes."

He said he and his son, a former Ermysteds pupil who is graduating this year from London University, will cycle alongside other riders this autumn who will be completing the route in aid of the same charity.

They are due to set off from Eltham Palace, in south east London, on September 14.

They will first head for Dover, before taking the ferry to Calais. Then they will ride to Paris via Abbeville and Beauvais, finishing in grand style at the Champs-Élysées.

Dr Healey, who is a founding member of the hospital-based running club the Airedale Dodgers, said: "I've never done this kind of distance before. I'm looking forward to it.

"I've started training and I managed to do part of the Tour de Yorkshire Sportif. I've also done a couple of 100 kilometre rides.

"Joseph lives in London and cycles there, and he completed a major cycling event last year which is probably what encouraged me to get on my bike."

People can visit justgiving.com/joe-chrisbike2paris2017 to donate.