CHARITY fundraisers have completed their challenge to drive 10,000 miles across Europe and the Middle East – just days after half of their team had to fly home because of illness.

The four-strong Yorkshire Yaks team, led by cancer survivor Adam Alderson, of Preston-under-Scar, near Leyburn, had been taking park in the Mongol Rally.

Mr Alderson, who underwent pioneering multiple-organ transplant surgery two years ago in a bid to rid him of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP), a rare peritoneal cancer, became ill with severe dehydration just over a week from the end of the journey.

He and wife Laura flew home from Russia so he could be treated at the specialist hospital unit in Oxford where he had his operation, but teammates Liz Sheldon and Andrew Smithson carried on the challenge.

At the weekend they drove the team’s two adapted Suzuki Jimnys to the finish line in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

After being placed on a drip and undergoing tests in Oxford, Mr Alderson had hoped to recover in time to fly back out to cross the finish line with them. But in an update on the team’s Facebook page, he wrote: “Liz and Andy have completed the Mongol Rally 2017, over 10,000 miles and 11 countries.

“Unfortunately I’m not well enough to return but extremely proud of what we have all achieved and a huge thanks to both Liz and Andy for picking up the baton and carrying on the challenge.”

The team are raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and the Steve Prescott Foundation, and broke their initial £20,000 target before even leaving the country. They set off from Leyburn on July 14.

The Mongol Rally involves driving 10,000 miles across Europe and Asia to Mongolia without back-up or support. There is no set route, with each team finding their own way to the finish line.

Mr Alderson fell ill while the Yaks were in Kazakhstan earlier this month.

The team managed to get over the border into Russia, but with his condition deteriorating, the decision was made to fly him home following consultation with his doctors in Oxford.

The couple, who married earlier this year, flew from the town of Barnaul to Moscow, and then onto Heathrow.

In 2015, Mr Alderson underwent a 17-hour operation which required 30 people working shifts and resulted in the removal of a 10kg tumour and his stomach, large bowel, small bowel, gallbladder, pancreas, appendix, spleen, his abdominal wall and most of his liver. He was then transplanted with multiple abdominal organs and spent three months in hospital recovering before being allowed home back to the Yorkshire Dales. The 37-year-old is one of only four people in the world to survive the operation.