AN 85-year-old great grandad has set off on an epic bike ride today (Thursday) covering more than 200 miles from St Davids to Stafford to raise money for vulnerable girls in India.

Dick is aiming to raise £10,000 which will go towards building the Pratigya Children’s Shelter in India which provides a safe place for young girls who are at risk of being forced into sexual exploitation in the southern Indian state of Telangana.

Dick and his support team set off from Cross Square in, St Davids this morning. They were waved off by the Mayor of St Davids, Bethan Price, and the Dean of St Davids Cathedral, the Very Reverend Jonathan Lean.

Their 200 mile plus journey will take them 1,600ft above sea level over the Cambrians visiting Newcastle Emlyn, Llangurig, Llanidloes, Newtown, Montgomery, Shrewsbury, Newport and Telford, then on to the final ceremonial ride along the cycle track from Gnosall, Staffs to finish with a mayoral welcome at The Market Square, Stafford on midday Saturday July 15th .

Dick has a target of £10,000 and any donation will be doubled by his sponsors.

Last year Dick and his grandson Marcus cycled 200 miles from Stafford to St Davids , in memory of his wife Caty and to raise funds for the Pratigya Chi ldren’s Shelter.

He aimed to raise £5,000 but eventually raised over £13,000, with donations going to Dalit Freedom Network UK, a trafficking prevention organisation working with women and children from poor and marginalised communities, including Dalits (Untouchables).

They fund the Pratigya Children’s Shelter which enables girls and young women to grow up in a caring environment with access to counselling, healthcare, good nutrition and education.

Earlier this year Dick visited the shelter to see how the money will be spent.

“We are so grateful to Dick – he is an amazing man,” said Jeevaline Kumar, Director of Pratigya.

“The money that he is raising will help us to expand our shelter so that we can care for 100 girls who otherwise would be severely exploited and abused. The shelter is making a huge difference in the lives of these children. Here they can live with dignity.

“All of the girls in our shelter have dreams and ambitions, aspiring to become doctors, lawyers and engineers. We are working hard to make all their dreams become a reality. Thanks to Dick we can do this for even more girls.”