SAINTS legend Francis Benali is "devastated" this morning after being forced to pull out of the penultimate day of his IronFran challenge.

The 50-year-old managed just a few lengths in the pool on the sixth day of his challenge before he was told to leave on medical grounds by his sports therapist.

Dad-of-two Franny had hoped to be back in action after spending 24 hours resting and undergoing rigorous medical tests yesterday.

He spent several hours at University Hospital Southampton where he was assessed by a cardiac specialist.

Yesterday, what should have been his fifth consecutive Iron Man distance triathlon was completed by his support team, family and friends as well as a large number of well wishers who turned out to run a section of his 26.2 mile marathon for him last night.

This morning, following physio, Franny attempted to start the swim at David Lloyd pool in Farnborough but was told he must stop swimming on health grounds.

He will not participate today but will be following the team on the road in a support vehicle to cheer them on.

A team of cyclists, led by Franny’s cycling coach Andrew Hartley, have started the 112-mile cycle and will make their way through Surrey towards Hampshire.

They have been joined by Professor Tim Underwood from Cancer Research UK’s Southampton Centre and head of cancer sciences in Southampton, who is doing the ride on Franny’s behalf.

A spokesperson for IronFran said: “Franny is completely devastated but has accepted that he must follow the expert advice he has been given.

“He has been overwhelmed by the incredible efforts of the many people who have turned out to join his support team in swimming, cycling and running on his behalf.

“Franny was very much looking forward to making his way home to Southampton today, boosted by the hundreds of messages of support and well wishes he has received in the past 24 hours.

“We hope the people of Hampshire will once again pull out all the stops to turn out and line the streets and support the team of IronFran cyclists and runners as they make their way back to the city later today, and help Franny smash his £1m fundraising goal for CRUK.”

To donate visit