HARDY rugby fans swapped the scrum for the saddle as they used pedal power to raise thousands for charity.
A 17-strong group of parents and members of Hartlepool Old Boys Rugby Club players tackled the 180-mile Coast and Castles bike ride.
They raised a staggering £4,000 for Cancer Research UK in the process over three days in late June.
One of the cyclists, Ian Campbell, said: “We have all had people suffer from cancer, a lot of people have had loved ones pass away from it.
“So we just wanted to do something to help.”
The group pedalled a route which started at Newcastle and took in Alnwick Castle, Bamburgh Castle and Warkworth Castle, before finishing in Edinburgh.
Ian, of the Foggy Furze area of town, said: “It was a headwind all the way every day.
“It was hard-going but nobody dropped out – we all made it.”
He added that some of the group took part in a 132-mile ride from Middlesbrough to Hull for Leukaemia Research last year.
And he and Paul Cooper rode 52 miles from Manchester to Blackpool in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
“Most of us are Old Boys members and we have children who play for the team, so it’s good camaraderie,” added Ian, who is a business development manager.
The oldest member who took part in the Coast and Castles was Allan Mann, aged 69, and the youngest were Ian’s son Adam Campbell and Sam Kitching, who are both 14.
Ian, who is also dad to Tom, 10, and Adam are now gearing up for a 136-mile Whitehaven to Roker Coast to Coast ride, this time for personal achievement rather than a charity.
Ian thanked DHL, which ride organiser Andy Bell works for, and Rob West’s firm Hart Industrial Tools (Gear GB) for their help with sponsorship.
The group was accompanied by support drivers Gav Bennett, John Parkin and Andy Wales.
There is still time to donate to the group, by visiting www.justgiving.com/ian-campbell15