RETIRED fireman Tony Cosstick is going off to France in a blaze of glory after a charity cycle ride he organised on Sunday raised more than £1,000.

Mr Cosstick, 56, came up with the idea for the ride, which started and finished in Devizes, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust and The Firefighters Charity.

He is now to take part in Tour de Force which will cover the same course as this year's Tour de France and is main annual fundraiser for the memorial trust which was set up in memory of a young man who died while travelling in South America in 1998 and now supports young people to keep away from a life of crime.

He said: "The ride went very well with 70 riders enjoying the courses over 50 an 100 Km. We were lucky with the weather with rain stopping just before the start. The ride started at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Training Centre and went across the Pewsey Vale to Pewsey, Westbury and back across to Devizes.

"The longer 100Km ride took in the climbs of Milk Hill at Alton Barnes, Oare Hill, Westbury White Horse and finally the short but steep climb of Dunkirk Hill. Feed stations were provided at Pewsey and Westbury Fire Stations."

He thanked the fire service and a number of cycle shops for their support.

He hopes to raise £2,000 in total for the William Wates Memorial Trust.