Ark Cyclists raise £60K from LEJOG17

An awesome group of cyclists are celebrating after raising £60,000 for a cancer charity by cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG).

On May 13, the Ark Cyclists set off from the Cornwall landmark and headed north on a nine-day 965-mile ride to the Scottish landmark at the other end of Great Britain.

Some of the riders did particular legs of the journey and seven completed the whole ride – an amazing achievement for all of them, but particularly for team leader 51-year-old Jonathan Hobby, who underwent treatment for lymphoma last year.

It was only last September that the father-of-four, who is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), was diagnosed with cancer.

He said: “I had been having some difficulties with my breathing and a scan revealed that I had a tumour the size of a melon in my chest.

“I became seriously ill, and needed emergency surgery. I then underwent six months of chemotherapy in the Basing Unit at Basingstoke hospital.

“Thanks to the skill and care of the team there, I was well enough to return to work, and I have been able to get back on my bike, and complete this challenge.

“The thought of taking on LEJOG gave me something to look forward to and I am delighted that I and the other riders have achieved what we set out to do.”

The riders are supporting Ark Cancer Centre Charity’s campaign to raise £5million towards the unique local cancer treatment centre that will serve people in the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) area – and they are delighted to have have raised £60,000.

With all the money now in, some of the riders and sponsors marked hitting the £60,000 milestone by handing over a large cheque to Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees.

Looking back on the LEJOG17 triumph, Jonathan said: “It was an amazing experience and we all have some amazing memories. I am delighted to have completed this journey with such a great group of people, and we are all grateful to everyone who sponsored us and supported the charity.

“We set up fundraising pages through The Good Exchange which means that everyone who backed us through this portal saw their money doubled by Greenham Common Trust which was match-funding donations.”

Jonathan added that he and his fellow riders – Kevin Conn, Paul Hart, Graham Hazell, Rob Hewetson, Jolyon Hobby, Chris Hocking, David Poole, Chris Sayer, Tim Syder, Peter Chapman, Mark Keane, Myles Gascoyne and Charlie Taylor – are also grateful to the support team of volunteers who helped them on the journey.

Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees said: "Congratulations to Jonathan and all of the Ark Cyclists, and it was great to mark this amazing achievement with the large cheque presentation.

"I would like to express my admiration and gratitude to Jonathan and everyone involved in LEJOG17, and also my thanks to all those who have kindly sponsored and supported the team and Ark Cancer Centre Charity.”

The riders received some great support from local companies – Pedal On, in Tadley, was the headline gold sponsor while silver and bronze sponsorship support was provided by the Candover Clinic, in Basingstoke, and Caviste Independent Wine Merchant, in Overton, respectively.

Picture caption: Some of the Ark Cyclists and sponsors hand present the large cheque to Ark Cancer Centre Charity trustee Merv Rees (kneeling left). Picture by Sarah Gaunt Photography.