STAFF and patients set off on a unique journey and almost doubled the cash they expected to raise.

The ‘scrap to the future’ saw 15 only just road legal cars make their way from Southampton hospital to Scotland.

They included teams of doctors, nurses, managers and patients hit the road for a scrap car rally fundraiser.

The cars - each valued under £500 - made their way to Loch Lomond, with a variety of Top Gear-style challenges en route.

They all made it to the finish line, raising what is thought to be almost £40,000 for Planets, a charity fundraising for pancreatic, liver and neuroendocrine tumours.

It’s to raise as much cash as possible so that a revolutionary mobile radiotherapy machine can be used more.

Last year University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust became the first in the UK to introduce Mobetron, the first mobile system able to deliver radiotherapy during surgery.

It is an intensive form of targeted radiation given at the time of surgery to treat a wide variety of advanced cancers that are difficult to remove and treat.

Using Mobetron technology, the radiation is given by high energy electron beams delivered with precision to a very specific location inside the body immediately after a cancer has been removed.

It enables surgeons and oncology specialists to deliver much higher doses of the anti-cancer treatment to areas at a high risk of recurrence without causing damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs seen with conventional external beam radiotherapy.

After a successful first year, the PLANETS team – who have raised £750,000 for services at UHS over the past six years – are aiming to raise £25,000 from the rally to upgrade a second theatre at Southampton General Hospital to double the number of patients able to receive IOERT.

The rally included a stop at Popham Airfield in Andover where the teams did a series of timed driving skills tests, with hospital CEO Fiona Dalton taking part with her team all dressed as French men.

After a stop in Leeds, they went on to Loch Lomond for a black tie dinner and auction before the vehicles were sent to scrap on Sunday.

PLANETS was co-founded in 2010 by surgeon Neil Pearce alongside some of his former patients and colleagues. The fund has already secured £13,000 of its £25,000 target.

Mr Pearce, now associate medical director for patient safety at UHS, said: “When we introduced IOERT in Southampton last year it was hailed as a landmark moment for the treatment of advanced cancer in across the UK.

“We now want to extend its use into a second theatre and the amazing team of volunteers at PLANETS – many of them former patients – have organised this fantastic event which promises to be extremely fun as well as action-packed.”