A GROUP of Royal Navy officers from HMS York used pedal power to raise almost £1,750 in aid of the Hospice 2000 Appeal.

The petty officers from the destroyer cycled from Plymouth to York. The officers visited Galtres School with which they have a close affiliation. This week the school will raise money for the officers through a non-uniform day and that will be passed on to the hospice.

Petty Officer "Jack" Hobbs said that apart from a mishap at Oxford the 270-mile ride went well. He said: "We got lost and had left our mobile phones in the support vehicle so we had to ring our wives to ask them the numbers and get in touch with the others."

Commander Paul Porter, who came up from Plymouth, where the ship is docked after a week at sea doing navigation training, came to York to congratulate his officers. He said: "They've done a fantastic job."

One of the people the officers met was Noel Sturgeon, a patient at the hospice who served in the Royal Navy for 24 years.

He said: "I think it's excellent that they've done this."

Of the total raised, £1,000 came in sponsorship from Nestl Rowntree.

Janet Morley, St Leonard's fundraising manager, said: "We are thrilled they have chosen us as their charity this year."

PICTURE: CYCLE TEAM: St Leonard's Hospice patient Noel Sturgeon receives the cheque from HMS York commander Paul Porter, left, and Petty Officer Steve May with cyclists, from left, Adrian Smalley, Simon Matthews, Carl Wild, Karl Hobbs and Paul Benbow Picture: Mike Tipping