MORE than 600 cyclists hit the road in aid of a Herefordshire hospice on Sunday.

Fundraisers of all ages turned out in force for the St Michael's Hospice Wheelie Big Cycle, with bosses at the Bartestree-based venue hoping the event will raise at least £20,000.

Those taking part were able to choose whether to tackle a 16, 32, 60 or 93 mile circular route from the livestock market off Roman Road in Hereford.

Among those taking part was 14 year-old Joel Massey who suffered a cardiac arrest while playing football with friends in April.

"I wanted to do something to mark that I was getting better," said Joel, who lives in Much Marcle, near Ledbury.

"I was in a coma for four days and can’t really remember much about it, so I thought I needed a challenge to help me get fit.

"I used to go mountain biking, so riding 30 miles on the roads is all a bit new to me. It has been awesome.

"People were helping each other out and next year I am coming back to do the 60-mile route and maybe the 93 the year after."

Joel’s mum, Andrea Massey, said the day was very emotional for her.

"In April I was having to resuscitate my son, and being here today has made me a bit tearful," she said.

"Seeing Joel all back to normal again and helping to raise £500 in sponsorship for St Michael’s Hospice, a place close to all our hearts, has been just wonderful."

The event was sponsored by South Hereford Garages and has been declared a success by the hospice.

"It’s been overwhelming," said organiser Nicki Lloyd.

"Last year we had 345 people enter and this year we have had over 600.

"It's been amazing to see people of all ages and all cycling abilities with mums, dads, grandads; all celebrating the joy of cycling."