A TEAM of cyclists have set off on their journey to raise funds for a cause close to their heart.

The group of friends are riding from Poole to Jersey the long way round – a route of more than 600 miles ­— in just six days, to support the family of a friend who was left paralysed following a freak accident.

Will Ross was cutting branches in his parents' garden in October when a tree he was trimming changed direction as it fell and crushed Will as it hit the ground. He suffered a severe spinal chord injury as well as multiple breaks down his spine, ribs and shoulder blade, leaving him permanently paralysed from the chest down.

The cycling challenge left Lytchett Matravers at the weekend, heading for Folkstone, where they were due to cross the Channel and continue to St Malo, France, before finishing the ride in Jersey, where Will lives with his wife Emma and their daughter Florence.

Rider Tim Hannibal said: “We knew we had to do something to help raise funds for Will and his family to help them prepare for the long and emotional road ahead.”

To follow the team, or support the cause, visit pooletojersey.co.uk