TV star Zoe Ball was boosted on her epic 300-mile BT Sport Relief Challenge with a surprise visit from Runcorn comic John Bishop.

The much loved comedian turned up at Castle Park to spur her on yesterday as she strives to reach Brighton by Friday.

The novice cyclist told listeners to Chris Evans' breakfast show this morning that John had given her practical survival tips after he conquered a gruelling 290 Sport Relief Challenge to cycle, row and run from Paris to London in 2012.

So far donations have topped 80,000.

Zoe was greeted by Runcorn Belles, a women's cycling club when she arrived at Halton Stadium on the first leg of her journey with Widnes Viking players.

The ladies, all sporting Zoe's Hardest Road Home t-shirts, rang their bells and cheered as the 47-year-old mum of two completed the first 70 miles of her gruelling journey.

Louise McSorley, from the club, said:"Zoe has taken on a massive challenge as a novice cyclist and being such a public figure with her radio show.

"But we know she can do it. She will be receiving good support and advice.

"We will be routing for her all the way, keep pedalling, Zoe!"

The club has more than 250 members and is keen to encourage more women to take up cycling.

Zoe had breakfast with BT workers before she set off on the second leg of her marathon.

Kirsty Dickson, from Runcorn, told her that she had completed the tough Sandstone Trail with fellow colleague Jayne Sudworth and raised thousands of pounds for Sport Relief.

Zoe met Widnes Viking players and heard about how they are helping many people with mental health problems.

Zoe has vowed to raise awareness about mental health issues following the death of her boyfriend Billy Yates, who struggled with depression.

Zoe said: "Men don't like to talk about their health. We've got to encourage more people to talk about mental health.

"There are places where people can go and receive support. We want to get the message out there."

To support Zoe visit