A TV star’s devotion to poorly children saw her saddle up for a charity cycle of more than 50 miles.

On Sunday, Bury-born actress and model Gemma Atkinson rode the 52-mile Great Manchester Cycle for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The 29-year-old, who began playing Hollyoaks’ Lisa Hunter while she was still a pupil at Castlebrook High, was one of 8,000 riders to participate in the event.

Currently starring as paramedic Tamzin Bayle in Casualty and filming in Cardiff, Gemma said she was excited to return to Manchester and get on her bike.

Speaking before the ride, she said: “I am really pleased to be able to do something for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and to help them raise funds.

“They do wonderful work and it’s a very worthy cause and one I’m proud to be contributing to.

“I know the event is going to be spectacular and a really fun day for everyone taking part.”

Gemma has completed a number of events for the charity in the past, including the Great Manchester Run.

Hannah Thomas, the hospital’s events manager, said: “Gemma visits the hospital regularly and the patients are always really excited to meet her."

The charity supports research funding to improve understanding of children’s illnesses, helps create a more child-friendly environment at the hospital, and provides state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment equipment.