It’s a vicar - and his wife - on a bike!

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A 60-YEAR-OLD vicar and his wife are marking their 36th wedding anniversary by cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for their parish in Starbeck.

The Rev Francis Wainaina, vicar of St Andrew’s Church in Starbeck, and his wife Elaine set off on the demanding 1,000 mile marathon attempt on Monday.

They hope to raise cash for two worthy causes - the St Andrew’s building project and Wellspring, a charity which offers counselling services and training in recognising mental health problems.

Speaking before setting off, Mrs Wainaina, a director of Wellspring, said: “I think we’re feeling a bit of both nerves and excitement at this point.

“We are really looking forward to it, but I guess it’s a challenge, facing the hills and the weather and all of the other things that might intervene.”

She said they had done several practice runs, cycling a few days in a row.

And while they both had quite different styles of riding, they complemented each other very well.

“He has a little mirror on his bike so he can see when I’m falling behind,” she said.

“Mostly, he’s the one with all the get up and go in the morning and he pulls me along with his energy and then as we get into the afternoon I take the lead and he follows me.

“I’m really looking forward to going through all the different counties and picking up on the different aspects of them, as well as photographing the county boundaries.”

The ride will see the pair pedalling an average of 50 miles a day for nearly three weeks without stopping to rest.

They hope people will follow their journey via the reports and blogs they are sending back home as they ride.

To donate to the cause, visit the Rev Wainaina’s BT Donate page at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/teamfrancis or by visiting his website at www.teamfrancis.co.uk.

There’s also a link to their itinerary at www.wellspringtherapy.co.uk.

Mrs Wainaina hopes to use that page to blog throughout her journey, so anybody who is interested can follow their progress as they take on the end-to-end challenge.

The couple, who have publicised their ride with flyers and a billboard poster (as seen in the picture on thr right) hope to raise a grand total of £60,000.