A GROUP of doctors taking part in a gruelling bike ride took time out of their schedule to stop off in the Tyne Valley.

A dozen surgeons and surgeons in training set off from Southampton on September 1, cycling to reach Edinburgh by September 7 on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The aim of the trek was to spread the word on the latest news and advances in the field of surgery, with the group stopping off at teaching hospitals in Oxford, Birmingham, Sheffield, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Carlisle to deliver various symposiums on a range of surgical topics.

The cyclists were also raising awareness of the college’s national anti-bullying campaign, #LetsRemoveIt, which aims to tackle the issues of bullying and undermining in healthcare.

Before reaching Scotland, the group made a stop at Hexham Hospital last Thursday.

Paul Gallagher, one of the surgeons taking part, is a consultant upper GI and general surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Paul said: “I’ve never done anything like this before, so it’s been an experience.

“We can’t believe the weather, we’ve got surgeons from all over the country and Northumberland is becoming a favourite for everyone. The weather is great and the countryside is beautiful.”

The 12 cyclists were joined in Hexham by Professor Michael Griffin, president elect of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, who cycled the remainder of the route.

Prof. Griffin said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be here.

“This is all about raising awareness for things like bullying in the workplace. We take this very seriously.

“I feel a bit of a fraud because I’m just joining here, as I was with the Secretary of State for Healthcare last night, talking about the future of the healthcare service.”