A GROUP of young farmers alumni from the Forest overcame some “tough days” to complete a mammoth cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise more than £30,000 for a life-saving charity.

Six current and former members of the Westbury-on-Severn Young Farmers Club - Fran Smart, George Beddis, Becky Hewlitt, James Smith, James Griffiths and Will Snowden - set out to cycle the length of the UK in 10 days on September 11.

The group had started out with the ambitious goal of raising £10,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity - but they’ve smashed their target and them some, raising over £33,000 and counting.

Dubbed ‘Wheelie Westbury’, the challenge saw the farmers - who have varied levels of cycling experience - pedal over 988 miles on the iconic route from the tip of Cornwall to the north east of Scotland, adding up to more than 72 hours in the saddle.

The six riders were closely followed by a dedicated support team of drivers, who helped them overcome four punctures, six “crashes” and a sketchy encounter with a squirrel.

The team arrived triumphantly at John O’Groats on September 20, where they posed for a celebratory photo in front of the famous waymarker.

Experienced cyclist George, described as the “pro of the team” and the planner of the route, said of the challenge: “It went really well much to all of our surprise and all six of us made it to the end.

“There were some tough days but the weather was on our side, we didn’t have many mechanical issues and some of the scenery was stunning.

“We had less than a day of rain spread over the whole 10 days which for the time of year was quite lucky.

“A few of us had spoken about doing the challenge previously, however it didn’t really make it off the start line and then Covid came along anyway.

“It came up again in conversation again early this year, and we actually put pen to paper this time and spent quite a few months planning it.”

Their chosen cause, The Brain Tumour Charity, is the world’s leading brain tumour organisation and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally.

The charity works to find new treatments, offer support and “drive urgent change” in tackling brain tumours.

“All six of the team know someone personally who has been affected by a brain tumour and therefore, The Brain Tumour Charity seemed like a very worthy cause,” George said of what the charity means to the group.

“The statistics behind the disease make for stark reading.”

The cyclists were welcomed back to the Forest by their supporters with a celebratory BBQ at the Bespoke Brewing Co. in Littledean, one week on from completing the challenge.

George added: “The support and generosity we have received right from the start has been brilliant, we have raised a staggering amount of money and cannot thank everyone enough.

“A total of 24 local businesses sponsored us and we had family and friends turn out at various points along the route to show their support, especially when we passed through the Wye Valley.

“We had a dedicated support crew for the duration of the trip and it definitely wouldn’t have been possible without them.”

The team were especially thankful to Cinderford-based company The Bituchem Group, who provided “the most important” resource for such a challenge by supplying and sponsoring their support van.

To donate to the group’s cause, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/westbury-wheelers.