London

Thousands of cyclists ride for cancer charity in London

Participants in London Bikeathon 2009
Image caption About 6,500 cyclists are taking part in the charity's 50th year

About 6,500 cyclists took part in a charity ride through London to raise money for research into leukaemia.

Organisers said all places at the 14th Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research London Bikeathon, which marks the 50th year of the charity, were taken up.

The ride began from three sites in London - Thames Barrier Park, Royal Hospital in Chelsea and the Ham House.

The 52-mile route will pass through landmarks like the London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral and Richmond Park.

A 600-metre traffic-free circuit has also been created specially for children.

Organisers are hoping to raise more than last year's total of £480,000.

Sir Trevor McDonald and Alastair Campbell are among the celebrities who are supporting this year's event.

Mr Campbell, who is the charity's chairman of fundraising, said: "After losing my best friend - the journalist John Merritt - to leukaemia in 1994 and later John's daughter Ellie to the same disease I am determined to do all I can to help Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research find better treatments and cures for blood cancers."

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