HUNDREDS of people across Basingstoke came together on Friday with one idea in mind - bringing the dream of a cancer treatment centre one step closer to fruition.

The first ever Ark Day was held on Friday last week with schools, businesses and individuals taking on fundraising challenges in aid of Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

The day literally teed off with Druids Golf Competition at Dummer Golf Club at the crack of dawn.

Not long after, staff at Basing View-based Unun launched their marathon static rowing challenge and Anna O'Shea, of Winkworth Estate Agents, had one of the more unusual approaches to fundraising as she performed an Irish jig on the hour, every hour, from 7am to 7pm.

St Mary's CE, Great Binfields Primary, St John's CE Primary, Manor Field Infant, Hatch Warren Infant, Castle Hill Infants/ Juniors, and Castle Hill Primary Schools, and Ashwood Academy, were among schools showing their support.

Elsewhere, Hampshire Hospitals staff took on a cycle challenge, as did the team at Whiteoaks International, in Hook, staff from Display Manager, in Wade Road, and Phillips Solicitors, in the Top of the Town, took on their own walks for the cause, while Festival Place invited guests to paint a ceramic pig and Clarke and Son Solicitors put on a cake sale, inspired by a recipe MasterChef winner Jane Devonshire compiled especially for Ark Day.

Meanwhile, staff at The AA, in Basing View, played 'pin the tail on the pig' to raise some cash while TaylorMadeGolf organised a putting competition in the afternoon.

The spotlight turned onto Down Grange from the evening.

Here brave fundraisers took on a firewalking challenge for the cause before Basingstoke Town took on Basingstoke Rugby Club in a 'game of two halves.

Mixing quarters of touch rugby and football, Town ran out 10-8 winners and were presented with their trophy - Ark Day mascot Moneypenny.

Meanwhile, the Gazette put on a raffle before a party at the rugby club closed out the evening, while simultaneously The Swan, in Sherborne St John, held a 1980s retro night for the Ark Day cause.

The total amount raised on Ark Day is still being totted up.

The success of Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s £5million appeal will ensure a range of support services and complementary therapies are available alongside chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in a calm and uplifting environment.

The new cancer treatment centre is largely being funded by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and it will be built on the Basingstoke hospital site.