Caring doctors and hospital staff got on their bikes as part of a 1,000 kilometre cycling challenge to raise vital funds for research into heart disease.

Cardiologist Dr Richard Cowell was among the medics who were put through their pedalling paces during a charity bike relay at the private Spire Yale hospital in Wrexham.

The team were challenged to complete 1,000 kilometres in a week to raise £1,000 as part of a UK-wide event at all 39 Spire Healthcare hospitals and support centres around the UK.

The overall aim was to complete 40,000 kilometres which is equivalent to one lap around the world.

The Spire Yale staff used two static exercise bikes on loan from Total Fitness and as part of the challenge, a team from the hospital, including consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Ibrahim Malek, also completed a 10 mile walk on the Llangollen canal. Meanwhile, orthopaedic surgeon Mr Raminder Singh completed a separate bike ride.

Half of the money raised in Wrexham will go to Spire Yale’s chosen charity the British Heart Foundation (BHF), to fund vital research into heart disease and support for patients.

The other half will go to Spire Healthcare’s national charity the Tropical Health Education Trust (THET), which sends UK healthcare volunteers to improve care in hospitals in Asia and Africa.

Dr Cowell, a cardiologist who has been treating heart patients at Spire Yale for 24 years, is a keen cyclist in his spare time.

He said: “Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the UK so this is a fantastic cause.

“It’s also a great way to raise awareness of heart health, with a fitness challenge.

“As we have an increasingly aging population it is important that everyone takes what measures they can to look after their hearts.

“The obesity epidemic is what is driving this, and unfortunately this is because people are leading sedentary lifestyles.

“I would encourage everyone to take regular exercise, cycling is a great way to do this and also try to get your 10,000 steps a day in.”

Mr Malek said: “It’s been a great event and a great thing for the team here at Spire to do together to support a good cause”

“It’s good to be able to give something back to the community”

“We would encourage everyone to take regular exercise to support their heart health and their bone health and cycling is a great way to keep fit while taking the pressure off your joints, as is swimming.”

Heidi Parker Jones, Business Development Manager at Spire Yale hospital said: “We have really enjoyed being part of the challenge”

“We chose to support the British Heart Foundation locally as heart disease is something that has touched many of our staff, their friends and relatives.”

Every hospital in the Spire Healthcare group was aiming to complete 1,000 kilometres during the course of this week.

Elsewhere around the UK teams got involved in a Spire to Spire cycle challenge, with a team of colleagues including Spire CEO Justin Ash and CFO Jitesh Sodha cycling 333km from Spire’s office in London to Spire Bristol hospital.

They were in the saddle for 15 hours and were accompanied by Mark Beaumont, the record-breaking long-distance British cyclist, adventurer, broadcaster, documentary maker and author who holds the record for cycling round the world in just 79 days.