A CYCLIST will set off on a charity trek from Chester to Amsterdam later this week in aid of hospice staff who cared for his late father.

Andy McKinney was determined to do something to help Wirral Hospice St John’s, after seeing the special care and support his dad, Paul, received before he passed away from throat and lung cancer last year.

So on Wednesday, after several months of socially-distanced training, Andy - joined by pals Joel Bate, Tom Briggs, Matt Davison, Luke Briggs, Jack Watkins and Ross Kennedy - will set off on their bikes from Eastgate Clock in Chester.

They plan to arrive, three days later, via the Hook of Holland port, at Amsterdam Central railway station.

A gruelling and intense ride is promised from one beautiful city to another.

Wirral Globe:

Andy with friends Joel Bate, Tom Briggs, Matt Davison, Luke Briggs, Jack Watkins and Ross Kennedy are in good shape to complete the Chester to Amsterdam challenge.

The first day - the shortest in distance, just the 71 miles, but steepest in climbs, up to around nearly 1400 feet in parts - will see them settle in the Pennines at Thurlstone Millhouse.

Day two covers 82 miles from South to East Yorkshire to Hull, again over difficult and undulating terrain.

A ferry will then take them from Hull to Hook of Holland to the third leg of their epic journey, riding out on the final 80 miles to Amsterdam.

They'll all be spurred on by the memory of Paul, originally from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.

Paying tribute to dad, Andy said: "Ice Hockey was our favourite sport and, when we came to the UK, dad coached the Deeside Junior Ice Hockey club, The Deeside Dragons.

"He was held in great affection by many young people, being seen as a teacher and mentor by everyone who enjoyed their time there."

Andy - a professional in the National Ice Hockey League for Telford Tigers - continued: "He settled in Wirral where his passion for the whole region flourished, so much so, he was considered as knowledgeable as a Blue Badge Tour Guide for his visiting friends and relatives. Dad motivated us to develop positive attitudes, to follow our dreams.

"Wirral Hospice St John's couldn't do enough for him.

"The nurses were so attentive and the care he received was, honestly, second to none.

"He'd be delighted now that we're aiming to raise some funds for the hospice.

"The lads have been training hard to make him proud."

To support the challenge, see their Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/john-paul-mckinney