TWO best mates from the Pewsey Vale who cycled 2,000km across Italy are thrilled to bits that they have managed to raise more than £11,000 for the Alzheimer's Society.

Ben Higham, 39, of Easton Royal, and Darren Tapper, 47, of Pewsey, pedalled their way through mainland Italy and Sicily over 12 days, before being greeted by the mayor of Trapani, Vito Damiano, at the finish line to congratulate them on their efforts.

Five years after Mr Higham's aunt, who had Alzheimer's disease, died, the pair expressed their delight that they raised so much for the charity and that her memory spurred the two on over the mountains and through the treacherous conditions.

"We are just thrilled to have raised this amount and the donations are still coming in - it was a brilliant trip and one that we are very happy to have done," said Mr Tapper.

"It was a big motivation to do it for Ben's aunt Janet for sure. It definitely spurred us on to get round quicker. The scenery at times is just stunning and it was great being with Ben for it all.

"We went through a lot of rain and cold but on the whole we did alright weather wise. It was pretty tiring cycling around 100 miles a day, going uphill for hours on end but it was worth it in the end.

"It was a great way to finish it all by meeting the mayor who was very nice.

"We got lucky with our bikes as we did not have one puncture or any difficulties at all but funnily enough when I went for a short ride recently I got a puncture after five minutes."

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