HAVING not been in the saddle for more than a decade, a pair of identical twins from Swindon are getting their helmets on for the London to Paris Bike Ride.

Alex Clark and Ashley Rudman, 27, are tackling the challenge head on in memory of their mum Jayne Clark, who died just days after they were born from a pre-eclampsia.

The condition develops in pregnant women and can cause high blood pressure.

It caused their mum to collapse into an ecliptic seizure and she was put into a coma. The girls were delivered safely but three days later the decision was made to turn Jayne's life support off.

The twins weighed just 2lb and needed urgent care after the surgery.

They were encouraged to complete the 300-mile cycle challenge after Ashley’s husband completed it last year.

Alex told the Adver: “We just wanted to do something in memory of mum and we just thought 'he did it, so why not'.”

Growing up, their dad was a single parent but received help from his own parents to raise them. They admit they didn’t have much interest in sports as children.

Alex said: “We are so lazy it’s unbelievable but mentally and emotionally it will push us through."

Ashley added: “We’ve never really done anything like this before. To be honest we’ve haven’t been on a bike since we were about 15.”

Alex took on the Ben Nevis climb in Scotland for the charity last year but thinks that was a piece of cake compared to cycling from one capital city to another.

She said: “I climbed Ben Nevis last year, it was hard work but it’s going to be nothing compared to this challenge.”

For the cycle, they have trained at least three times a week since April to prepare for an event that will last four days, running from July 24-28.

Alex said: “We want to help others, get our story out there and people who are in a similar situation might see our story and it’ll raise awareness and raise money.”

The sisters are raising funds for children's charity Action Medical Research, which launched a Born Too Soon campaign last year to try and raise £1 million by 2020.

Head of events for Action, Emma Morgan, said: “Since we launched the event 19 years ago, we have been lucky to take more than 5,000 cyclists across to Paris.

“Everyone comes together to ride for a reason and help our fight for tiny lives.”

The twins have had friends who have lost their babies, and more than one thousand die in the UK every year after being born prematurely.

Alex said: “We will support Action Medial Research every year the charity is amazing.”

Next year Alex will be running the London Marathon with her stepsister, while Ashley will be doing the 40-mile plod for the charity. The pair plan to do something to help each year.

Alex said: “We will celebrate the last day with some bubbly to celebrate mum’s birthday, which is the second day of our cycle."

To sponsor Alex and Ashley's bike ride follow this link