A CYCLIST has taken on a gruelling 24-hour challenge to raise money for the hospice which cared for his grandmother.

James Cook, a set decorator from Worthing, would normally be busy making the BBC period drama Call The Midwife look authentic at its hospital set in Surrey.

But the 30-year-old, who has been furloughed, has set himself a physical challenge during the coronavirus crisis to raise money for St Barnabas House Hospice in Worthing.

He said: “St Barnabas cared for my nan Doreen until she died in 2015 and they’re in crisis mode now.

“I was there nearly every day as I’m close to my grandparents. I had a single mum so they looked after me a lot.

“It just gave her a bit of dignity and they were so caring.

“I’m a Worthing boy and I don’t know anyone St Barnabas has not helped in some way – friends’ dads have gone there and family friends.

“It’s a very important service to the community and it’s overlooked.”

James, who only took up road cycling last year, is set to do a 100-mile loop around Sussex four times on Friday, July 24.

He will set off from the Beach House grounds in Worthing and plans to cross the finish line where he started on the Saturday evening, having covered roughly 400 miles – the distance between St Barnabas House and Scotland.

He said: “I’ve been speaking to cycling pros and everyone thinks I’m going to be OK for the first 16 hours but after that things are likely to get really tough.”

James aims to raise £5,000 and has already received almost £2,000.

He said: “I’m asking for the equivalent of a pint – more if it’s doable – but I recognise these are hard times for a lot of people. Any donation will make a difference and allow hospice care to continue.”

Mary Bye, community fundraiser at St Barnabas House, says: “We are in awe of James for taking on this enormous challenge and for everything he is doing to raise money and awareness for the hospice.

“When the coronavirus crisis struck, our monthly fundraising income plummeted by 70 per cent due to events being cancelled and the closure of our shops.

“Although the constraints are easing, support from people like James is more important than ever to make up the shortfall and ensure we can continue providing our care services in the months ahead.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/cookie2020.