Seven men and their families set off from Barnstaple Square at 11am with a speech from Barnstaple Mayor Ian Roome and a surprise armed police escort. The Tour to Lyon crew said they have already raised £9,000 for brain tumour charities after a Tour of Britain bake sale raised £760 alone on Monday. One cyclist taking part has also teamed up with local singer Maddie Warren to record a song, Dear World, now released online and accompanied by a YouTube video, all fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity and the Tuberous Sclerosis Association. It all began in 2016 when 17 year-old Chloe Wickham and her French exchange friend Agathe were both diagnosed with brain tumours just months apart. The experience turned the Wickham family upside down, but after surgery it was luckily benign and Chloe was back at college within weeks. Agathe sadly died in May 2017. Agathes heart-wrenching funeral spurred the Wickham family into 14 months of planning a huge fundraising mission to help the many young people suffering from brain tumours, and campaign for more funding. Were hoping to see Agathes family so that will be emotional because obviously theyve struggled a lot over the last year, but its all for a good cause so it should be happy tears rather than sad tears, Chloe told the Gazette. Julie Wickham, Chloes mum, added: Were going to be met by the family when we arrive in Lyon and thats going to be very poignant because theyre obviously still coming to terms with the grief of losing their daughter and were still unbelievably thankful that ours is still with us. Chloes dad Roger Wickham is taking part in the mission, and said: Agathe was a special girl and she had a bright future ahead of her so its been a very sad time. They are hoping to fund more research to help teenagers like Chloes fabulous friend Lauren McWhinnie, who suffers from tuberous sclerosis, a condition where benign tumours grow on organs around the body. Paul McWhinnie, Laurens father, said: Its special, watching the video last night for the song and seeing photographs of Chloes surgery and her friend Agathe, it just brings it home to you quite how serious brain tumours are. When you see the statistics of how many children brain tumours affect, its massive. Today the Tour to Lyon crew are cracking on with their mission, keeping in mind how one daughter wasnt so lucky. Roger added: Ive been looking forward to this its been 14 months in the planning and all of a sudden its arrived so Im looking forward to getting on the bike now and getting cycling. If you would like to donate, please go to www.justgiving.com/teams/tourtolyon. You can also donate to the hospital that treated Agathe at www.alvarum.com/tourtolyon .