Matt Prior gets on his bike for Chestnut Tree House

Sussex and England cricketer Matt Prior, left, who has announced that Chestnut Tree House children's hospice will be one of the charities supported in his benefit year, 2012, is pictured visiting the hospice with its chief executive Hugh Lowson.

Sussex and England cricketer Matt Prior, left, who has announced that Chestnut Tree House children's hospice will be one of the charities supported in his benefit year, 2012, is pictured visiting the hospice with its chief executive Hugh Lowson.

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Upon his return from the Test series in Sri Lanka, England wicketkeeper-batsman, Matt Prior, will be undertaking a 100 mile cycle ride for Sussex children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House.

Matt will be cycling the South Downs Way with England wicket-keeping coach, Bruce French.

The pair will set off from Winchester on Thursday 12 April and aim to complete the challenge, which includes over 4000m of ascent and descent, over two days, finishing in Eastbourne.

And after an hour’s bike ride around Devil’s Dyke yesterday (Tuesday), the Sussex star has realised what he is in for.

Speaking to us, Matt said: “During the charity ride, I am expecting to do 6-8 hours a day. After an hour biking around Devil’s Dyke I was hanging!

“I had to go to pharmacy this morning and buy a bucket load of Vaseline and stock up on plasters.”

But Matt is determined and he is hoping to raise £10,000 for a charity he has been ‘gripped’ by.

He said: “I first visited Chestnut Tree House with Sussex a couple of years ago and I was shocked about amount of times I have driven past it and did not know it was there.

“The work they do is unbelievable and I was completely gripped by them.

“They have to raise pretty much all the money themselves and I thought maybe I can help.

“It’s my benefit year this year and I had no hesitation in picking them as my charity. I was honoured and delighted when they asked me to be a patron.”

When I spoke to Matt, he had reached £5,893 - but he wants to hit £10,000.

He said: “It basically takes £5,000 a day to run Chestnut Tree House. If I can raise £10,000 and wipe out two days of cost, I will be happy.”

But how has Matt been training? You can imagine his schedule is pretty packed - especially during recent months with tours to Dubai and Sri Lanka.

Matt said: “I really haven’t been doing any training. I am as fit as I have been in the last eight or nine years.

“Being a wicket keeper I am squatting all the time and doing shuttle runs, so that helps with my legs.”

And are the England cricket team’s management getting twitchy about any potential injuries?

Matt said: “I am not looking to race against the clock so I won’t be going all out but you can’t wrap yourself up in cotton wool.”

The ride will see Matt and Bruce start at Winchester Cathedral at 5am tomorrow (Thursday) and finish at Chestnut Tree House’s chairty shop in Eastbourne on Friday.

To donate online and to support your local children’s hospice, please visit Matt and Bruce’s JustGiving page