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Reporter due to finish charity cycle ride across UK

A weekly newspaper reporter is taking on an epic charity challenge by cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Martyn Smith, who works for Newsquest’s News Group titles which includes the Dudley News, Stourbridge News and Halesowen News, set off on the cycling challenge earlier this month with friend Warren Evans.

The pair, who are raising cash for Diabetes UK, are aiming to complete the cycle across the country in around 12 days and are due to finish today or tomorrow.

Martyn has also been blogging about the 980-mile challenge for the papers he works for.

Warren Evans and Martyn Smith are pictured at John O'Groats

In a blog about their first day, he wrote: “Our first day cycling took us down the coast road to Golspie. This road seems to have a reputation for being dangerous with many cyclists.

“When discussing our intended route most people looked at us like we were setting off for a ride though downtown Baghdad the day after America invaded and we would never make it out alive. It turned out to be fine, maybe we just got lucky.

“Before departure we took ourselves off to have the obligatory photo by the sign in John O’Groats…only to find it missing.

“A helpful local explained it got vandalised so much they took it away and we would have to phone a man to bring it. Luckily he arrived at that moment and we got the must-have picture.”

Ahead of starting the challenge, Martyn penned a blog about how he had started cycling a couple of years ago in a bid to lose weight.

He wrote: “After 15 years working as a rock ‘n’ roll roadie, surviving on a diet of beer, Jack Daniels, takeaway food and service station pasties, followed by a decade living the sedentary life of a journalist, I was fat.

“A couple of years ago I decided it was time to shed the excess pounds and sought the advice of a mate who, as a professional sportsman, knew about diets and nutrition.

“I was expecting a lot of complex instructions – what I got was much more effective: ‘eat less and do more’.

“I took up cycling, first on a static exercise bike and then on a mountain bike around countryside and quiet roads near my home.

“As my enthusiasm for cycling grew my mate Warren, from Base Studios in Stourbridge, started going on about how he had always fancied doing the John O’Groats to Land’s End ride and eventually I agreed to join him.”

The pair can be sponsored by visiting their JustGiving page.