Former West Bromwich Albion player, Brendon Batson, will be cycling 75km across the West Midlands to help raise vital funds for Birmingham St Mary’s.

Brendon, who played for the Black Country club from 1978 to 1982, will be taking on the charity’s annual cycling challenge – ‘Ride the Reservoir’.

Taking place on Sunday 18 March, Ride the Reservoir is an exhilarating cycle sportive which starts at Bartley Green before extending into the scenic villages of Romsley, Belbroughton, Chaddesley Corbett, Barnt Green, and then back to the reservoir. All funds raised from the ride will go towards Birmingham St Mary’s, which provides vital care to local families living with terminal illness.

Brendon – who will be joined by hundreds of other keen cyclists – is showing his support for Birmingham St Mary’s after the Hospice cared for his wife Cecily in 2009. He said: “The care Cecily and my family received was just incredible. It was a massive comfort that she was cared for at home and I’ll never forget the kindness and dignity the nurses and doctors showed us.

“Taking on Ride the Reservoir is my way of continuing to say thank you to the Hospice for their amazing support during that time. As a keen cyclist, I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike again and kickstarting the season with this brilliant ride.”

Last year, the cycle sportive attracted more than 350 riders, raising over £16,000 for the Selly Park-based charity.

Lucy Watkins, events manager at Birmingham St Mary’s, said: “It’s fantastic to have Brendon on board for Ride the Reservoir this year. Whilst the route may look pretty, it’s actually really challenging with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

“It will cost £8 million to run our hospice this year, so funds raised from this event will be absolutely vital in ensuring that we can continue to provide our care to even more local families living with terminal illness.”

Ride the Reservoir is approved by British Cycling – the national governing body for cycling in Great Britain – and is supported by local, independent bike shop, Red Kite Cycles.

Registration for the ride costs £20 and participants can book here.