Lands’ End to John O’ Groats – Raising £40,000 for Cancer Research UK

My journey cycling the length of the United Kingdom- Lands’ End to John O’ Groats

It was spring last year during an informal chat with my fellow pathology colleague at our annual meeting that I came to know about the LEJOG (Lands’ End to John O’ Groats) bike ride. My colleague was planning to organise this cycling challenge as part of Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and to fundraise for Cancer Research UK (CRUK). Without any hesitation, I said that I would consider signing up for this challenge. I had pondered on this idea of cycling the length of the UK for a few years now. I was very hesitant and quite scared to attempt this challenge in one go, so I decided to do just the Scottish leg of LEJOG (Edinburgh to John O’ Groats), in 2019. Although I found this ride quite hard, I always felt that I should attempt cycling the whole length of the UK. Finally, in December last year I decided to give it a go, so I coaxed my close friend Raghu (Radiologist @MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas, USA) to join me and he agreed.

The new year began, and I motivated myself to start training for this incredible challenge. The training was a bit irregular and slow paced in the beginning. In April, we got to meet our ride organisers (Cycle Retreats- cycling super couple Mark and Zoe and their wonderful team- Ian, Craig and Cooper) and other participants online. The organisers’ 20-week training programme was helpful to give me some confidence, but I always doubted whether this training was enough to pull through this challenge. I was reassured by Mark and Zoe to stick to the training plan, and I did just that.  Months rolled by very quickly with most weekends and a few days during the week spent on long bike rides and the D-day arrived. I started my journey from Plymouth on 12th September carrying my bike in the train to Penzance and then continued to a hotel near Lands’ End. I met my friends Raghu and Alan and a few other participants. Raghu called our small team ‘MAMIL’ (Middle Aged Men in Lycra). I was nervous as was everyone else.

Our entire cycling team at Lands’ End fundraising for Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

The next morning, we braved the wet and windy weather and cycled to the start, the Lands’ End. We assembled for a team photograph and set off to Launceston (95.5 miles) which was our destination for the day. The route was well planned, and everyone had GPX files of the routes on their cycling computers. The first three days (Cornwall and Devon) of the route were extremely hard with never ending soul crushing steep hills and terrifying descents made worse by the slick and wet roads. We nearly climbed 20,000 ft. in three days (Mt Everest- 29000 ft.!). The 4th day was a glorious day on the bike, a recovery day (60 miles), and we passed through the Malvern Hills AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Every day, we stopped at the designated morning and afternoon water stations and for lunch mainly at a restaurant or café along the route. At the end of day, we celebrated with good dinner and drinks, sharing stories of our extraordinary challenge. I must say that we all were well looked after and motivated by the organising team as well as by fellow riders. There was always support at hand if needed. Mark, Zoë and their team were incredible. On the evening of day 5 we had an opportunity to meet our college President Dr Mike Osborn, guests from CRUK and Prof Richard Marais (Director CRUK Manchester Institute).

 (Left to right)- me, Dr M Gill, Prof S Coupland, Dr M Osborn, and Dr R Brown

At one of our lunch stops we met a gentleman who stopped us and handed a crisp £20 note to my friend and said, ‘they are going to take me out on a slab anyway- if it helps someone else, then I am happy’. He had terminal prostate cancer. I was truly touched by this gesture. We are cycling the length of UK to help raise awareness and funds for Cancer Research UK. The battle against cancer is a relentless pursuit. Research is underfunded and needs our help.

On day 6 we passed through the centre of the United Kingdom. An unfortunate incident close to the finish saw my friend injuring himself and unable to continue this ride. I felt very sorry for him and was on the verge of discontinuing the ride myself, but he insisted on us to carry on this journey until completion. The next few days, I had a tense ride, weather turned slightly better, but headwind started to pick up.

The journey through the Lake district and Scottish Highlands was beautiful with breath-taking picturesque landscapes and equally tall mountains to climb. We passed through a few famous distilleries (Dalwhinnie) and in fact the morning water stop on day 10 was in the Glenmorangie distillery! There were many times during the ride when I felt completely exhausted, and nothing left in the tank especially during the end of the ride when you start to see a climb ahead of you! but as a group we just kept motivating each other and kept pedalling. Along the ride I got to know many amazing friends, their fascinating stories, and their journeys. I hope I can stay in touch with most of them in the future.

The 12th day (last day) was a short ride from Thurso to John O’ Groats (22 miles). The team decided to ride together in one large group until the finish at John O’ Groats. We were greeted by family members and others with a celebratory fizz at the finish. We had ample time to take photographs, relax and enjoy the moment.

I still can’t believe I managed to complete this challenge and will take a long time to come to terms with what I have really achieved. I have cycled 1025 miles, climbed 65000 ft. and spent nearly 90 hrs on the saddle, all in 12 consecutive days! I began to consider this the hardest and greatest achievement of my life and will never be able to emulate this again! I was very lucky to have constant support and encouragement from my lovely wife, my kids and friends, without which I could never have imagined attempting such a huge challenge.

In the end, our team managed to raise more than £40,000 for Cancer Research UK, a commendable effort by everyone. If you had a small contribution in this, my sincere thanks.

That’s it for now, until the next challenge!!

Aditya Shivane

Consultant Neuropathologist

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust


Annual Event 2022

We hope that you are all well and enjoyed a lovely summer break. 

This notification is a call for artists to come forward and give us your entry for this year’s programme.  The last date to enter your performance is 30th September 2022, although, it would be great to receive your entry request ASAP. So, get your thinking caps on and please send your entries by email to

We are also planning to organise a Fashion show as usual. However, we are changing the format this year so that willing participants can join without having to sign up. We will play a mixed track and interested participants will be able to take the stage. 

Please find attached guidelines for the cultural programme which contains all the relevant information and call for participation

We look forward to organising a successful and memorable cultural evening for all the participants, and audience including invited guests.  

With many thanks for all your kind cooperation. 

SAaS Trustees

Annual General Meeting 2022

We cordially invite you to participate in the 2022 Virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM 2022) of SAaS 

Date – Sunday, 16th October 2022
Time 6pm – 7:30pm 
Location – Online Zoom
[Link Emailed to members]

1. Welcome by SAaS Chairperson
2. Secretary report
3. Treasures report.
4. Discussion – Annual Event and future events
5. Discussion – Membership management
6. Members comments- AOB

If members want to discuss anything in particular please email us ( your agenda item by 10th October so that we can add it under the AOB Meeting item. 

All trustees please email ( at least 2 weeks prior to AGM (i.e.3rd Oct 2022) that you would like to continue as a trustee for next year. We strongly encourage others members to come forward and contribute to our society as Trustees. If anyone would like to join as an associate trustee, please send an email to by 3rd Oct 2022. 

We look forward to seeing you all during the AGM. 

Thank you
SAaS Trustees

Respect Festival 2022

This year’s respect festival was organised both in-person and online. The Festival which showcases Plymouth’s diversity and enables different communities to come together and promote the intrinsic message of respect and equality for all. Organised by the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, the one-day event includes parades through the city centre, live music, dancing, children’s activities, world food, information stands and much more! Since humble beginnings in 1998, Plymouth RESPECT Festival has continued to grow and develop each year. Similar to previous years SAaS participated with much fanfare and was a very successful event. There were a number of performances from the South Asian Community as part of the programme coordinated by Dr Arunima & Prof Jha. We would like to thank PDREC once more for the initiative and their support. Please view the gallery for some images from the event.

Basic Life Support Training

The basic life support training organised by our trustees was well received by our members. Over 50 participants benefitted from the session and we will look to run this again later in the year. Special thanks for Pete and Barry who were supported by Girish and Amit to deliver the session. Special thanks to the Peninsula Medical School who were our integral partners across number of projects and kindly offered the venue for the session. Overall a great community event and effort.

Basic Life Support Training

We shared our intent to run a BLS course in Autumn 2021. Our Trustees Dr Amit Dhulkotia and Dr Girish Ventak have now planned a session for members. We are looking to run the session on the 15th of May morning as per the availability of the trainer. The session will last for a max of 2 hours. 

BLS refers to the basic first aid procedures that can be used to keep someone alive until the emergency medical services can get to the scene. The most important skills are chest compressions to pump blood around the body, and rescue breaths to provide oxygen. 

We feel this is an important skill that everyone should be aware of. Members of the Clinical community receive regular BLS training. We strongly encourage our younger and non-clinical members of the community to utilise this opportunity. The course will be offered face to face and will have limited spaces available. 

Register by 11th May

Charity Walk 2022

Similar to last year, our Trustees Dr Shrestha and Dr Tripathi are coordinating a charity walk on the 29th of May 2022. 

Details about the charity walk will be shared with interested members in due course. It was really fun last year and we encourage members to take his opportunity.

Please see pictures from last year’s event. 

Register Interest by 20th May

Community Engagement Opportunity

Our society is looking to offer a temporary role to help us with specific community engagement activities as outlined in the attached document. Please respond to us by 4th February 2022 if you want to speak more about the opportunity or want to share an expression of interest to carry out the work. Please email 

Even though the opportunity is temporary in the first instance, we would consider extending the same over a longer period subject to satisfactory performance.

Annual Event 2022 update

Dear Members

Due to the ongoing challenges and risks linked to the Covid 3rd wave, we decided to postpone our Annual Event.  We anticipate that with the current booster vaccination drive, we should be able to run a face to face event in Spring. We will get back with an update by mid-February after due consideration. 

Wishing you laughter, contentment, joy, and peace in 2022 and always.

SAaS Trustees

Special Invitation for SAaS Members to Visit ‘the Box’

SUNDAY 28th NOVEMBER 2021,   10.30am 1.30pm and 3pm (3 groups of 6 individuals each)

SATURDAY 8TH JANUARY 2022,    10.30am 1.30pm and 3pm (3 groups of 6 individuals each)

                  6 groups of 6 (36 in total)

The new museum, art gallery and archive for Plymouth and the South West  ( has extended a special invitation to SAaS members to visit the museum and experience ancient stories from the world’s oldest continuing culture, told through more than 300 paintings and objects by over 100 different artists.

Visiting members will be taken on an epic journey that crosses three states, three deserts and some 500,000 square kilometres. With ceramics, paintings, sculpture, installation and film.

If you are interested, come and immerse yourself in an exhibition that uses the power of art and culture to connect us across time zones and international borders. The exhibition is going to be stunning.

For further information about the exhibit, please see the information published in the Guardian and on ‘The Box’ websites from the links below.


The guided tour will last for about an hour and there will be a special free workshop looking at how craft creates a culture to enjoy at the end if members wish. A complimentary cup of tea will also be provided. There will also be a chance to find out about volunteering opportunities in ‘The Box’ for anyone who fancies it. 

The tour has been specially organised during the weekends so that SAaS members can enjoy with family and friends. If you are interested to visit ‘The Box’, please send the preferred dates and time slots, (mentioned at the top), the number of people visiting to Professor Awadhesh Jha (email: by Saturday, 20th November. As the numbers are limited (only 36), allocation will be on a ‘first-come-first-served basis.