A RUGBY club took on one of Essex' most muddy challenges in support of a hospital's chemotherapy unit.

Players and staff from Burnham Rugby Club came together to take part in the 5km Nuclear Mud Race at the nuclear bunker in Kelvedon Hatch.

The gang of more than 20 men and women took on the challenge with the aim of raising £300 for Queens Hospital Romford's chemotherapy unit.

The group ended up smashing that target, raising just shy of £2,100 (at the time the paper went to print).

The money will go towards the hospital's funding for a state-of-the-art surgical robot that will be used in potentially high risk surgeries, minimising chances of infection and shortening the recovery period for patients.

Paul O'Brien, 48, organised the event alongside Wayne Parkin, 47, and Lee George, 34.

Mr O'Brien said: "It was quite a tough event as most of the participants were not exactly fighting fit.

"As a team, we mostly stayed together pushing, pulling, dragging each other around the course, and in parts even digging people out with our hands when their feet and legs became stuck in the mud.

"Even though it was quite tough, we worked as a team and stayed focused on our goal.

"We even managed to encourage a team member in recovery from cancer to complete the course."

The group that completed the challenge ranged from teenagers to a number of people who are nearing 50.

The key organiser in the event was Mr Parkin who like most people has been affected by cancer a lot in his life.

He decided to raise cash for Queens Hospital to pay thanks for its cancer unit's "crucial role" in treating both his mother and lifelong best friend for the disease.

Donations have been steadily rolling in through the group's JustGiving page as well as other avenues.

Mr O'Brien added: "astonishingly we fast approached £2,000 which was way beyond any of our expectations.

"We never expected to raise this amount of money.

"We still have a collection box at Chapmans Convenience Store in Southminster, which will be collected in a few weeks time.

"Donations are still coming in and it's absolutely amazing."

Mr Parkin already has plans for next year's challenge and the group are set to discuss which charity they wish to help in 2020.

Mr O'brien added: "The organisers and participants would like to thank everyone who supported us weather that was on the day, at home or to help to spread to word.

"Most of all the people who donated, you have helped us to the someone that probably won't even ask for help and for that we thank you."

Donations to the JustGiving page will be accepted until October 1.

To show your support, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wayne-parkin.