An Ellesmere Port store is backing a local fundraiser as its hero of the year.

Opticians Specsavers are supporting 59-year-old Mike Faulkner and have pledged to champion him in his bid to raise more than £4,500 for Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Mike, a transport co-ordinator from Great Sutton, approached Specsavers in the Port Arcades for help after agreeing to embark on a 300 mile bike ride between London and Paris. The feat will see him and two colleagues cycle 100 miles a day in a gruelling test for a cause close to Mike’s heart.

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Mike said: “Claire House was a lifeline to me and my family for 10 years providing a place of respite, reassurance and support throughout my son’s illness. Ian was born with autism and learning difficulties and kidney problems. As he got older he developed other issues including epilepsy and renal failure.

“We became aware of Claire House when Ian was 14 and despite being a children’s hospice they supported us all until he was 23. Ian’s mental age was about eight or nine so we really needed the care and help that Claire House could offer.

“He passed away in 2012 aged 25 having received amazing long term support from the hospice. I’ve set myself this challenge to support the hospice and all the families still relying on it as I know exactly what it means to depend on its service.”

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Paul Quinton, store manager at Specsavers, jumped at the chance to get behind Mike and colleagues Steve Tennant and Stuart Edwards.

He said: “Mike’s story really struck a chord with us and we are doing everything we can to help him reach his fundraising target and support him along the way. A lot of us in store have stories about Claire House and the incredible care it’s given to people we know. We’re really inspired by Mike’s determination in what will be an incredibly difficult challenge. We want to help.”

Mike added: “I’m training a lot at the moment, I cycle to work every day and whenever else I can. I go to spinning classes several nights a week and I’m more or less trying to fit in training at every opportunity. I used to run marathons as a younger man and have zip wired, sky dived and abseiled in the past but I’m no Bear Grylls. This will be a big challenge.

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“While I’m trying to help Claire House my amazing daughter Katie has dedicated her life to helping children battling serious illness.

“She’s a paediatric nurse on the intensive care unit at Alder Hey, something she’s wanted to do since she was little and witnessed the care and help that Ian’s medical team provided. She is an inspiration.”

Specsavers will back Mike and his team mates up to the ride which takes place between July 20 and 24. To donate to Claire House and help Mike raise funds, just pop into Specsavers in the Port Arcades. The store is planning a fundraising day with the three men on an exercise bike on April 23.