TWO friends will complete a 215-mile coast-to-coast bike ride to raise awareness for the plight of hundreds of thousands of Hondurans whose lives have been destroyed by floods.

Simon Beech, from Darfield, met Honduran Marlon Perez through his work at Dearne Valley College, and the pair struck up an immediate friendship.

Marlon’s hometown of Pimienta has, like much of Honduras, been decimated by one of the worst storms to hit Central America in recent memory.

Hurricane Eta, which killed dozens of Hondurans and left thousands more trapped without food or water, may be followed by a further strike from storm Iota - all while the country wrestles with the effects of the pandemic.

Concerned about his friends and loved ones back home, 22-year-old Marlon - now in Rotherham while he studies English at Rotherham College - spoke to Simon about what the pair could do and they have committed to a five-day ride starting December 19.

“The hurricane caused a lot of devastation and loss of life, leaving people without electricity and shelter,” said Simon, 43, of Doncaster Road.

“Food stocks have been destroyed and people have been sleeping on their rooves.

“We know the incredible power a lot of water can have here, from when the rivers flooded.”

The pair settled on riding from Southport to Hornsea via the Trans Pennine Trail after seeing stories of similar exploits in the Chronicle and online, and set themselves an ambitious target.

“We’re aiming to raise £10,000,” said Simon. “Marlon is keen to help these people, but he can’t go back.

“He’s hoping, and fairly optimistic, that after this lockdown is over he will be able to travel and get back over there.”

Search ‘Sponsor the restoration of Catrachos in Pimienta, Honduras’ for the page and to make a donation.