ALMOST a thousand cyclists geared up to help cancer patients at the fourth annual Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride.

Nicholas Soames, conservative MP for Mid Sussex, was the official starter for the race, which began at The Broadway.

Fundraisers pedalled their way round routes catering to both beginners and professionals, from the 11 mile Sergison to the more challenging 73 mile Wiggins Way.

Riders included town mayor Sandy Ellis, who was there to raise money for Help the Heroes, and the mayor and deputy mayor of the French twin town Bondues.

The proceeds will go towards paying for syringe drivers - small portable pumps which deliver a range of therapies to cancer patients. Syringe drivers alleviate nausea when a number of drugs are administered at the same time.

The vent was organised by the Haywards Heath Town Team, hoping to have raised between £14,000 and £16,000, enough to buy at least 12 syringe drivers.

Ruth de Mierre, chairwoman, said: “Thanks to everyone who rode; we do hope you had as good a day as we did and hope we'll see you again next year.”

Last year's ride raised money to buy 16 defibrillators for the Greater Haywards Heath area and the race is now on to find a good cause for next year's event.

Anyone with suggestions can contact Mrs de Mierre at or 01444453399.