A retired long-serving Essex Police officer is about to set off on a 500-mile charity cycle ride across England for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

Geoff Lee, 76, from St Lawrence Bay, served as sergeant in Epping and Ongar back in 1992 during his 30 year-long career with Essex Police.

Despite undergoing heart bypass surgery in 2005 and had a knee replacement operation the following year, Mr Lee has been determined to pedal for the pounds.

He said: "Last year's cycle ride around the northern Scottish mountains was one of the most toughest rides I have ever completed.

“I was asked by Great Ormond Street Hospital this year if I could do one more cycle ride for them.

"I gave it a lot of consideration as I’m starting to feel my age but now but I've decided to complete my own 500-mile cycle ride around England."

So far, the 76-year-old has raised over £40,000 for the London-based children’s hospital by completing four rides between London and Paris.

The former Essex Police sergeant will set off from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on Wednesday, June 26, and will follow a route he aims to complete within eight days.

His journey will take him through the Yorkshire Dales, onto the Peak District, crossing into Lincolnshire where he will follow the coast back down through Norfolk, Suffolk and finish in Essex.

"Great Ormond Street is the best children’s hospital in the UK and saves countless children’s lives each year,” said Mr Lee. “"I've seen for myself the work the hospital does and how dedicated each and every one of the hospital's staff are.

"On a recent visit to the hospital I met one of the consultants and mentioned to him that I had undergone life-saving open heart surgery.

“I was shocked to hear that he had carried out the same operation on a six-month-old baby who made a full recovery and is now leading a normal life.

"My aim is to support the hospital for as long as I can and for as long as my health holds up."

Mr Lee’s his former police colleague Tony Ellis, also a retired long-term serving Essex Police officer, said he will be supporting his former colleague.

Mr Ellis said: "Geoff was never a man to shirk a challenge when it came to his police work or his charity fundraising efforts.

“Great Ormond Street Hospital are very lucky to have Geoff as one of their champions.”

To make a donation to Mr Lee, please visit his JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/geoffrey-lee2