A GROUP of Hampshire pensioners who completed a gruelling round-the-world drive have embarked on a new quest – to save lives.

Les Carvall and his friends hit the road in 2013, crossing three continents, 12 time zones and 16 countries during an 18,668-mile journey that made headlines across the globe.

Les has been battling cancer since returning to the UK and some of his fellow adventurers have also faced serious health problems.

Now they have launched a campaign called Get Checked, which aims to persuade people to reduce their risk of developing potentially-fatal conditions.

Driving a specially-painted vehicle emblazoned with the campaign logo, Les and his companions are planning to visit a large number of venues across Hampshire over next few weeks.

Les, 78, of Everton, near Lymington, said: “Having experienced illness and surgery later in life we decided to do something different.

“The public are generally aware of the consequences of not getting medically checked but few people take the initiative and do something about it.

“We are not medically qualified to offer advice on what tests people should have, but a test for breast or prostate cancer would be a start.

“Talk to your doctor about a health check. The NHS and your doctor may be under pressure so don’t be surprised if you encounter some resistance.

“You must persevere. You only have one life so Get Checked and live it.

“You don’t hesitate to service and MoT the family car to avoid it breaking down so why not do the same with your body. A few simple tests and a few minutes of your time could save your life.”

The first Ultimate Challenge in 2013 included a journey through Mongolia. The first Ultimate Challenge in 2013 included a journey through Mongolia.

The pensioners’ 2013 round-the-world expedition, dubbed the Ultimate Challenge, involved seven men with a combined age of more than 500.

At one point their Suzuki vehicles became separated in the Mongolian desert, resulting in the two crews losing sight of each other.

Knowing it was vital to re-establish contact as quickly as possible, Les drove as fast as he could, creating a dust trail that enabled the other driver to locate him.

Gruelling 12-hour days and the occasional cross word took their toll.

But the elderly adventurers were feted everywhere they went and were overwhelmed by the hospitality they encountered in each of the 16 countries they visited.

Highlights included a 45-minute meeting with Poland’s former president, Lech Walesa, who founded the famous Solidarity movement.