A 90-year-old man who was the inspiration behind a sponsored cycle ride which raised more than £500 for an Epping Forest charity is being affectionately remembered.

George Miller was a 'life and soul' befriending club member for Voluntary Action Epping Forest and an accomplished cyclist in his day.

He planned a sponsored bike ride with fellow befriending club volunteer Andrew File, who said: “George and I used to have great times, sharing stories of our cycling experiences. We always talked about arranging a cycling event - and so the Voluntary Action Epping Forest Sponsored Bike Ride was born!”

Andrew and his friend Paul Warden cycled from their homes in Loughton to North Weald, towards Moreton, and returned to Loughton – all in the heat! They were cheered on by the other members of VAEF’s Community Club who were waiting for them at the half way point in North Weald. Last month's ride raised more than £500 in sponsorship from club members, family and friends, which will be used for future Community Club activities.

Andrew said after the ride: “It was great to cycle for such a great cause. I’m not sure we would have kept up with George when he was in his heyday, though!”

Shortly after the bike ride, George's health deteriorated and he died on September 15, 2022. He is very much missed by all the Community Club staff, volunteers and club members.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest runs a number of befriending clubs for the elderly in and around the Epping Forest District. These are a lifeline to so many and give their carers a much needed respite.

VAEF befriending clubs operate three times a week and also hold regular day trips out to ensure isolated people remain socially connected.

For more information about VAEF’s befriending services, visit www.vaef.org.uk or call 07708 171 116