'Devastating' news came as his final on Celebrity Masterchef aired...

The former England footballer turned Masterchef contestant Danny Mills has had to postpone his cycle from Leeds to London to raise money to combat the disease that took his son's life.

Danny has contracted gastroenteritis, meaning that he's had to abandon the Archie Mills Memorial Challenge, in which he would ride from Leeds to London and then complete the London Triathlon for the spina bifida charity Shine.

Archie died ten years ago from the condition, after Danny's wife Lisa discovered four months into her pregnancy that he had spina bifida and could not survive.

At the time of signing up for the challenge, Danny said: "It's hard to explain how essential the work of Shine is, what we went through in losing Archie was terrible, the advice and support from Shine enabled us to cope at a time when all seemed lost."

The 35-year-old had hoped that the 225 mile, 14-hour sponsored ride , setting off on Friday from Leeds Elland Road Stadium to Canary Wharf will raise £10,000 for Shine.

In a letter to his sponsors on his Just Giving page, Danny wrote of his devastation and his commitment to completing a similar challenge in the future. He said:

Dear All,

I'm devastated to have to let you all know that due to contracting a serious stomach virus, and after seeking medical advice, I have been told not to compete in my challenge this weekend.

I know so many people have worked incredibly hard to make this happen and I feel so bad for letting them down.

Nobody can feel as bad as I do right now. Six months of gruelling training and no end result. Anyone that knows me well will know it's my worst nightmare. But after losing over half a stone in two days, attempting the challenge would be more than foolish.

I can only thank everyone that has helped me up to now, the Shine Team, Evans Cycles, the media who have covered to story so well, and of course those of you who have donated so generously.

With this in mind, if anyone feels that they would like their donation refunded then I will personally make sure this happens. However, I will be completing a revised version of the challenge as soon as I am fit and well again.

Once again, thanks for the support.

The final of the Celebrity Masterchef series was aired on the night of the abandoned challenge, and in another blow to Danny, he lost out to Emma Kennedy.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.