A DETERMINED dad has signed up for two gruelling cycling challenges to raise £29,000 for the hospice that cared for his mother-in-law.

Alistair Cossins, 39, and his wife Julia, from Holmer Green, said they could not have coped without The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted where Julia’s mum, Jean Bolsom, spent the last 29 days of her life.

After Jean, who lived in Chartridge, lost her battle with cancer in September 2011, Julia and her sister Laura and their husbands Alistair and David vowed to "give back what they took" and raise £1,000 for every day of Jean’s stay at the hospice, which provides free expert care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Bucks and Herts.

Last July, Alistair and David, from York, raised a staggering £11,000 between them by completing the 300-mile London-Paris Bike Ride for the Hospice.

Alistair said: "I’ve never done anything like it before and I probably shan’t ever again. It was utterly amazing, incredibly emotional and totally inspirational.

"I wasn’t fit before I did it but I was afterwards. Training 750-1,000 miles really worked and the toughest part was dealing with my emotions."

Now they are preparing to saddle up again, this time for The Three Cities Bike Ride, cycling 332 miles over four days from London via Amsterdam and onto Brussels at the end of May.

Barely two months later, on August 10, they’ll be back in the saddle again, joining more than 20,000 other amateur cyclists taking on the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey100 challenge, a modified version of the 2012 Olympic Road Race, which the pair have challenged themselves to finish in under 7 hours.

"It’s great to have a reason to get back in the saddle again and very motivating to be doing it for the hospice" said dad-of-two Alistair.

"Jules’ mum was cared for with the kind of love she would have got from her own family, which gave Julia and Laura the chance to be daughters again instead of carers. It’s something they’ll never forget. As Julia and Laura’s partners, all Dave and I can do is support and be there." To sponsor Alistair, visit www.justgiving.com/AlistairCossins.

The hospice is keen to hear from anyone who’d like to take on a cycling challenge to help raise vital funds to enable its care to continue. If you’d like to sign up for one of 15 Hospice places up for grabs in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey100 challenge or this year’s London-Paris Bike Ride (July 2 to 6) call 01442 869555 or email fundraising@stfrancis.org.uk .