A pair of friends will be cycling across the widest part of the UK to help the homeless.

John Pinnington and Paul Appleby, both 70, who are from Norwich, will start their seven-day cycling challenge on Saturday, May 22 from St Davids in Wales, in aid of Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney.

They aim to raise £6,000 by riding 480 miles along the Via Beata Pilgrims route, which finishes in Lowestoft.

Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney, which has charity shops in Ditchingham and Norwich's Castle Quarter, provides a home, work opportunities and training for formerly homeless people at its Belsey Bridge in Ditchingham.

Mr Pinnington, a charity trustee, said: "We’re very excited to be taking on this 480 mile cycle across the country to raise money for Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney. I have seen first hand the work of this charity and how vital it is for people experiencing homelessness here in Norfolk and across the county.

“We’ve no doubt the cycle will be hard-going at times, but we are excited about travelling the length of the Via Beata Pilgrims route and having the opportunity to stop at way stations along the route for rest and reflection. This will certainly be a spiritual journey as well as a physical one.”

Via Beata is translated as Way of Blessing and the trail includes 20 stopping points for people taking on the route, with one just metres away from the Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney Ditchingham base.

Mr Appelby said: "I’m really excited about riding this unique route and for such a wonderful cause. It’s certainly going to be challenging but cycling through some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery across the breadth of the country for seven days will be a joy."

The cyclists, who have so far raised over £2,500, hope the funds they raise will go towards an Emmaus project to convert part of its Norfolk home bed and breakfast accommodation.

Set up in 2011 in a site of the former All Hallows Convent, Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney provides 32 formerly homeless people with a home.

It is part of a 29-strong Emmaus community network across the UK.

Visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Johnandpaulscycle to donate.