THEY walked for 28 hours non-stop covering a distance of 100km.

A team from Basingstoke insurance company Unum returned victorious after completing the gruelling South Coast Challenge to raise money for Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

The group of nine received a hero’s welcome in Arundel on Sunday, where family and friends gathered to cheer them across the finish line.

The team started the challenge at 9am on Saturday in Eastbourne, before passing through Brighton at the half-way point around 14 hours later, then walking throughout the night to finish in Arundel at 1pm on Sunday - 28 hours later.

And they have raised an incredible amount for Ark - more than £8,000 - which is the company's chosen charity of the year.

Andrew Brown, charity champion at Unum, who organised the walk, said: "It was incredibly tough, particularly getting to Brighton as the sun had gone down and knowing we still had another 50km to walk, most of which was during the night. But it feels incredible to have finished it, and knowing how much money we have raised for Ark pushed us to keep going."

The 39-year-old father-of-one, from Cranbourne, helped organise various fundraising events to boost the team's total for Ark, including a quiz.

He added: "Ark is such an important local charity, and the money raised will go towards a vital facility for our town which is set to benefit people going through cancer treatment. I might have suffered a few blisters on the walk and been pretty tired, but that's nothing compared to what people going through cancer treatment have to endure.

"I couldn't have done it without the rest of the team. We stuck together and motivated each other to keep going, which was what got us all across the finish line. I feel so incredibly proud of all of us."

Mark Jones, director of fundraising and communications for Ark was at the finish line to thank the team for their efforts.

He said: “This is an awesome achievement by a fabulous team.

“Congratulations to all nine of the Unum fundraisers. They have definitely gone the extra mile, and then some, for Ark and the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) cancer treatment centre campaign.

“This was a gruelling fundraising feat and they have really risen to the challenge. It’s great that the team have also been so well-supported and have chalked up a terrific fundraising total.”

Ark’s £5million fundraising campaign will ensure that a range of complementary and supportive services are available in a calm and uplifting environment in the new cancer treatment centre. Largely being funded by HHFT, the new NHS centre will be built on the Basingstoke hospital site.

To sponsor team We Are Arking Mad visit