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A team of intrepid cyclists embarked on a gruelling 270 mile cycle ride from Liverpool to London today to raise vital funds for Missing People.

The team was waved off from the Liver Building on Thursday morning, cheered on by Missing People Community Fundraising Manager Bryony Long who was joined by Tracy and Paul Bowles, who have experienced first-hand what it is like to have a loved one disappear. The day’s route will take them through the Peak District before arriving in Peterborough on Friday evening. The team is due to finish at 4pm at the Tower of London on Saturday.

Paul Bowles, who cheered the team off from the Liver Building, undertook an epic 1,950 mile challenge on his motorbike with his wife Tracy earlier this year. They raised almost £4,000 for the charity Missing People and Merseyside Jewish Community Care. Paul’s brother Steven was reported missing in April 2016 and Paul had no news until the following February when he received the sad news that Steven’s body had been found.

Paul Bowles said: “When Steven went missing, I contacted Missing People who launched a publicity appeal to help find him. For 10 long and agonising months we knew nothing about what had happened to Steven. We experienced such a roller-coaster of emotions whilst Steven was missing.

“It’s comforting to know that dedicated fundraisers such as those setting off on the Missing People Cycle Challenge on Thursday will help the charity be a lifeline to other families going through a similar nightmare to the one we endured”.

Missing People Community Fundraising Manager Bryony Long said: I’m inspired by our amazing team of cyclists who are going the extra mile to support people who are missing and their families. Paul and Tracy know first-hand what a rollercoaster of emotions it is when a family member goes missing, so it’s fitting they are joining us to cheer on the riders.“

The charity is currently appealing for over a dozen missing people across Merseyside including Philip Fudge and Kevin Fasting, whose appeals were displayed to an audience of millions last weekend when the charity’s Missing People Choir performed in the finals of Britain’s Got Talent.

The charity has recently launched a major new fundraising campaign, Find Every Child, in response to the growing demand on its services to support and search for missing children around the country. To coincide with the Cycle Challenge team setting off, Liverpool based digital advertiser OPEN Messenger has teamed up with the charity to help promote Find Every Child in Liverpool and will be running Find Every Child advertising on their taxi tops in a bid to help the charity raise funds.

Missing People’s free helpline is available 24 hours to offer support, advice and options to people who are missing and their families.