FANS and supporters have rallied to support Saints legend Francis Benali who was dramatically forced to pull out of the penultimate day of his IronFran challenge.

Unable to continue himself, swimmers, cyclists and runners are finishing the route for him and have arrived back in Hampshire.

The 50-year-old swam a few lengths in the David Lloyd pool in Farnborough on the sixth day of his challenge before he was advised to stop for medical reasons.

The remaining distance of the triathlon is now being 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.

He was not able to participate today but has been 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, started the 112-mile cycle and arrived in Colden Common at around 4pm.

They were 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.

Runners from Chandler's Ford community running group have shared their support the retired football on social media.

A spokeswoman for IronFran, said Franny will be stopping off in Fair Oak at some point this afternoon and then Hedge End, where he has family in the area.

She added: “The support has been fantastic people were coming out to greet Franny in the street with tubs of ice-cream because they know that he loves it.

“He has been overwhelmed by the 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.

“The streets have lined with hundreds of people in Chandler's Ford and crowds have been following him everywhere.”

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