TWO York women are set to tackle a gruelling 400km charity cycle ride across Cuba later this year to raise thousands for cancer charities.

Best friends Leanne Stevenson and Anne Brown are planning to take part in the “Women v Cancer” challenge over five days in October.

They will be raising money for three charities: Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. Money will also go to support cancer care in Cuba.

Leanne, who is a personal assistant at York accountants Garbutt & Elliott, said the ride was the chance of a lifetime for them to make a difference and help others.

“I saw an article on the Cuba challenge in a magazine and I thought I’d like to have a go,” Leanne said.

“After a little gentle persuasion, Anne agreed to come with me. To take part in the Women v Cancer challenge in Cuba, we need to raise a minimum of £6,000. We are so close to the target with nearly £4,700 in the pot and a few fundraising events still to come, but sadly time is not on our side.

“We must have the minimum target submitted to Women v Cancer by the end of July, otherwise we will have to give up our places. We have put so much hard work into the fundraising, and a great deal of our own money into this, that it would be incredibly disappointing if we were to fall at the last hurdle.”

Leanne urged people to go to to make a donation. Anne, who is the payroll officer at Ampleforth College, said the ride would be a “journey full of fun, friendship and incredible support, as women of all ages and from all walks of life challenge themselves for an amazing cause”.

She said it was a great opportunity for them to get fit, lose weight and have an experience of a lifetime, while raising significant funds to help in the fight against breast, ovarian and cervical cancers.

Nigel Shaw, partner with responsibility for charities at Garbutt & Elliott, said: “It’s a tremendous effort which Leanne is putting in – even before she actually gets on her bike.”