MATTHEW Hackett must have suffered a sudden rush of blood to the head the moment he agreed to cycle 969 miles from Land's End to John O' Groats in the space of nine days.

That's because the 40-year-old Hagley recruitment director had never cycled more than 20 miles in one go before.

Matthew revealed: "My wife thought I'd gone completely bonkers when I told her. And I must admit, I never realised how much hard work it was going to take."

Nevertheless, Matthew will be joining forces with five of his friends from his time at university in Exeter on August 15 to embark on this epic ride.

He has been training since February for the event and added: "It's completely changed my lifestyle. I've been out cycling three times during the week and then doing a longer ride at the weekend. I must have been covering between 150 to 200 miles a week to prepare for the event."

But Matthew is hell bent on completing the ride as all six of them are raising money for charities Prostate Cancer UK, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and the Ronald McDonald Trust.

The charities are particularly poignant to Matthew as his father Maurice, a well know local footballer with Bromsgrove Rovers and Stourbridge, died exactly 10 years ago from prostate cancer and felt he needed to do something.

Matthew, a keen footballer himself, admitted: "It was my idea. One of my friends Nick Threadgold was going to do it three or four years ago but had to have a cruciate operation instead.

"Since then, one of my close friend's children, who is five, has been diagnosed with leukaemia - in fact all six of us have been touched in our lives by these charities - so it was time to act."

However, Matthew's training hasn't gone to plan after he was struck by a car while cycling in Droitwich last Sunday, he said: "A car pulled out in front of me and I was catapulted 10 foot over the bonnet. I hurt my shoulder and suffered cuts and bruises, but it could have been worse.

"More concerning was the fact it wrote my bike off. I'm now trying desperately to get a replacement in time."

Anyone who would like to support Matthew and his friends should visit