A PROMINENT farmer is cycling 250 miles to raise awareness about testicular cancer.

National Farmers Union (NFU) North West Uplands Forum Representative Richard Pedley decided to use pedal power after hearing news that a close family friend had been diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of just 27.

Richard farms in partnership with his parents at Ellerbeck in Barbon near Carnforth in the extended Yorkshire National Park.

Richard said: “Learning earlier this summer that our friend Adam Caton had been diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 27 was shocking, even more so was learning that one in 250 males will be diagnosed with this in their lifetime.

“Adam is a keen cyclist. He loves it and for the life of me I don't know why. Adam’s parents Jonathan and Helen landed round at our farm recently with Jonathan in his full Lycra. He told me some of Adam's friends were planning a charity bike ride from Kirkby Lonsdale to Milton Keynes in October which is about 250 miles.

“Suddenly my competitive side kicked in. After all the days Jonathan whooped my backside when we were shearing, I thought to myself, this is something I could beat him at.

“I started road riding on my mountain bike, getting towards 20 miles in one go. Now I've got a proper bike and some Lycra of my own and I’m starting to enjoy holding traffic up on the road.

“Now more than 20 of us will be making a mockery of this sport by cycling together, likely holding up more cars. Throughout the route we will be raising awareness about the importance of checking your plums regularly and hopefully raise a bit of money for a great charity along the way.”

The family currently run 1,000 Swaledale sheep, 150 Mule ewes and 20 Blue Faced Leicesters. Lambing for the Pedley family starts at the end of February with the Mule ewes which lamb to the Texel tup. This is followed by the Leicester ewes, then the Swaledales start and finally the hill sheep begin in April.

On the cattle side of the business, the Pedley family run 40 cows with eight pedigree British Blues and the remainder being either pure Limousin or Limousin British Blue crosses.

Richard said: “Like many other hill farmers we’re extremely proud to play our part in producing the stunning landscape of the uplands. Grazing sheep, wall restoration, looking after wildlife habitat as well as hedging and fencing are just some of the tasks we have to do to keep the countryside looking in prime condition for tourists, day visitors and walkers alike. Livestock are the priority on our farm as without them we could simply not make a living."

If you can help Richard go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oddsquad4oddballs