A group of novice cyclists are saddling up for a coast to coast biking challenge to help secure the most advanced surgical robot of its kind for Sheffield.

The super seven – all South Yorkshire businessmen – are getting on their bikes to ride the 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington to raise money for Neurocare’s ROSA Robot Appeal.

The team is led by Rex Caplan, Managing Director of Caplan Properties in Sheffield and advisory board member of Neurocare.

“This is physically the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken,” said 57-year-old Rex. “The last bicycle I owned was a Chopper back in the 1970s!

“Like all crazy ideas this started with a few guys and a few drinks in a pub. But it has become very real as the enormity of what we have agreed to do has sunk in.

“My first training ride was a flat 15 miles and I could hardly walk for two days but it is for such a great cause I know we will do this.”

As a supporter of the charity for Neurocare for many years, Rex knows just how much of a difference Neurocare makes in Sheffield.

Thanks to Neurocare, the Royal Hallamshire is now the only NHS hospital in the UK to have a ROSA surgical robot which could transform the lives of thousands of people needing complex brain surgery.

Just like a GPS system, ROSA provides neurosurgeons with extraordinarily accurate 3D maps of the brain, allowing them to precisely and safely reach areas they could not reach before.

This offers real hope for people with poorly controlled epilepsy, as well as patients with deep-seated brain tumours, Parkinson’s Disease and other complex brain disorders.

ROSA’s pinpoint precision is far less invasive and has the potential to reduce surgery times by as much as 40 per cent, greatly improving recovery and surgical outcomes. The robotic arm mimics the movement of the human arm and can use instruments as thin as a needle.

But to keep this state-of-the-art technology in Sheffield, Neurocare needs to raise £250,000. Rex, who has been a trustee of the charity for 12 years, added: “The ROSA is the most expensive item we have ever purchased and we are so close to reaching our target now.

“My wife and two very close friends have spent time on the Neuro wards in Sheffield so I know how essential it is that they have the very best equipment and facilities available.”

Rex and his fellow fundraisers will be tackling the 170-mile Way of the Roses route between October 6 and 8. Starting in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe they will cycle over three days to the Yorkshire resort of Bridlington.

The route passes through historic cities of York and Lancaster, and lesser known gems such as Settle, Pateley Bridge and Ripon. It takes cyclists across beautiful, varied landscape including the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale and the Yorkshire Wolds with a total ascent of more than 8,000 ft.

To sponsor Rex go to his JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rex-caplan