A GRUELLING fund-raising challenge prompted by the death of a young man from Burton raised more than £9,000 for charity.
Team Cock, based at the Cock Inn at Hanbury, collected a whopping £9,133 for the Midlands Air Ambulance when they tackled a 250-mile cycle route to the Isle of Man TT track and back again in two days.
The group summoned the strength for the Herculean task in memory of 24-year-old James Lambert, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010. James' dad Colin was one of the cyclists.
"It was a challenge. There was no comparison to the hills. They say the TT track is a mountain, and it really is. It's seven miles from the bottom to the top with no flat bits to rest. We had 40 mile per hour winds, driving rain and hail to contend with.
"It was the hardest thing we'd ever done, and we're very proud of ourselves and each other," said Iggy Allsop, another one of the seven-strong group.
It is the second time Team Cock has taken to the road for charity.
Last year the group raised funds for Wish Upon a Star when they pedalled to Skegness and back.
Following the success of the ride, they decided to up the ante this year, setting a target of £4,000 sponsorship for the challenge. They more than doubled that.
Mr Allsop said: "We did it on a whim last year. We decided to do it and two months later, there we were. We did a lot more preparation this time and got the word out a lot more, which helped, I think. We had a lot of support from the pub, as well."
When the group arrived back in Hanbury, they were greeted by a large crowd of well-wishers at a welcome back party. That event alone raised £1,500 for the fund-raising efforts.
A cheque for the total amount was handed over to a representative of the Midlands Air Ambulance at the pub on Saturday.
The group chose to donate to the air ambulance as it was a cause very close to James Lambert's heart.
The route of the ride also had a poignant connection to the late firefighter, as his dad used to take him to the Isle of Man as a child.
"He loved it there. It was like a second home to him," Colin Lambert said.
As the pair shared a passion for motorcycles, it was a trip they loved to take together.
Team Cock is now recovering from their arduous ride, but they are not kicking back to relax.
Instead, they are already talking about where to go next year.
Despite the challenge they faced on this trip, they are looking at going even further – possibly tackling the 1,000-mile journey from Land's End to John O'Groats.
Another option is taking part in the Tour de Cock, which involves finding Cock Inns throughout the UK and visiting each of them on a mapped out route.