BASINGSTOKE medics took on a gruelling cycling challenge in South Africa to raise money for a good cause.

Hampshire Hospitals orthopaedic surgeons Kevin Conn and Jonathan Hobby, foot and ankle surgeon James Calder, physiotherapists Zoe and Sam Birch, applied physicist Andy Hibberd and his wife, manager Mandy Hibberd, took on the four-day Cape Argus challenge – the iconic cycling race in Cape Town.

The team were fundraising for The Ark Cancer Centre Charity, which is raising £5million towards the creation of a £13.5m cancer centre near Basingstoke.

During their time in South Africa, the team met cycling legend Stephen Roche, who in 1987 won all three main cycling events – the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the World Championship – and they also met England wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Mr Conn said: “It was a fantastic experience, and the views were absolutely stunning.

“It was challenging – the winds were very high and the heat made it tough, but it was a great experience.

“We all love our cycling and this is such a great cause, I’m sure we will be taking on similar challenges again.”

Andy Hibberd said: “This was an amazing experience – it is difficult to put into words. Covering 600km in four days with some of it against the clock made for tired legs.

“But in such beautiful countryside and with good company, it was over too soon, leaving us with great memories and a sense of achievement for The Ark Cancer Centre.”

As reported in The Gazette, last year The Ark Cyclists took on the amateur race stage of the Tour de France.

Vickie Randall, The Ark Cancer Centre charity manager, said: “We are really encouraged and delighted to have the support of The Ark Cyclists. They have achieved an amazing goal through sheer hard work, determination and tenacity, and with their support – and that of our community – we know that we can reach our target so that local cancer patients and their family and friends will get state-of-the-art cancer care for generations to come.”