Travel industry stalwart Philippa Harris is taking over as chair of trustees of the Family Holiday Association – and embarking on a 920-mile cycle challenge to raise funds for the charity.

She succeeds travel journalist and broadcaster Alison Rice who has held the post at the charity since 2012.

Harris held senior roles at First Choice Holidays, Sovereign Luxury Holidays, Harlequin Worldwide Travel, Eurotunnel and most recently Take One Media part of Menzies Distribution.

To help mark her appointment, she is leaving today (Friday) to cycle the length of the river Rhine from its source in Switzerland to the Hook of Holland to raise money for the charity.

Harris said: “I agreed to the challenge before I had worked out how far it was. Now I have looked in more detail it seems I will be cycling a total of 920 miles, 50-60 miles a day – it isn’t hilly but this distance every day for 18 days will be a challenge for me.”

She added: Alison leaves the charity in good health but, knowing how valuable a break could be for so many children and families, there is even more we can do in the future. I very much look forward to working with the team and trustees.”

Rice said: “It’s been an honour to serve the charity and help it progress and grow over so many years. I now wish Philippa, the board and staff every success as they move into an exciting new period.

“Helping families enjoy their first break together is close to my heart and I will continue to offer my support where I can.”

Charity chief executive John McDonald said: “Our sincere thanks go to Alison for all her efforts over so many years. She has made a huge contribution to the charity and left a lasting legacy.

“At the same time I’d like to welcome Philippa and wish her every success in the role of chair.”