A REDDITCH firm has cycled nearly 18,000 miles raising a staggering £85,500 for charity as well as breaking a Guinness World Record in the process.

Steve Bennett, founder of family owned The Genuine Gemstone Company, helped his team cycle 17,579 miles on a static bike based at the company headquarters in town.

The firm raised an amazing £85,522 for the Colourful Life Foundation and the world record for the "most money raised by static cycling in one month".

The ride was organised by the gemstone expert to raise cash for the foundation, which funds research-based projects delivering long term sustainable benefits to communities through education, health and environmental projects.

Employees cycled 24/7 throughout the month of January.

Although the team had originally planned to cycle just 6,800 miles to cover the virtual distance between their base to Arusha, in Tanzania, they decided to keep going after hitting their target early.

Mr Bennett said: “When we embarked on the challenge at midnight on New Year’s Day, 6,800 miles seemed out of the question.

"However it’s been so encouraging to see the team come together and raise money for such a good cause. I believe in strength in numbers and this just goes to show what can be achieved when you work together, especially for the greater good.”

In total, 284 team members took part in the challenge, with one employee achieving a grand total of 985 miles on the bike.

The company now intends to donate the money to the foundation, which will use it to build and maintain four schools in Arusha.

Spurred on by the success of this mission, Mr Bennett has now set his sights on the North Pole.

He is in training for an expedition in May, again raising funds for The Colourful Life Foundation.