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Francis Benali finishes IronFran challenge

Francis Benali - picture credited to Benali's IronFran

Southampton legend Francis Benali has received a lot of praise, after his IronFran challenge came to an end last night.

The former footballer and his support team were given a rapturous reception when they arrived in Guildhall Square.

Francis has been raising money for Cancer Research UK, with the aim of meeting his target of £1 million.

He did have to retire from his challenge on both Friday and Saturday on medical grounds, but he incredibly managed to comeback on Sunday, completing the swim, the ABP Southampton Marathon and then the full cycle ride.

Yesterday morning, as he prepared to run the ABP Southampton Marathon, Francis told us why the whole challenge has been so important to him:

"The support I've had from family, friends and sponsors throughout this has been truly mindblowing.

"I am eternally grateful for that."

One of those who joined him along the way is his former teammate Matt Le Tissier, who's told us his friend is an inspiration:

"Do you know it's been quite tough to watch him - to see the tough times he's been going through.

"To go from where he was physically on Friday is something my brain can't comprehend, because physically I couldn't do it."

When Francis and his team arrived in Southampton last night, a number of people took to social media to send their congratulations.

A petition has also been set up following Francis' challenge, calling for him to receive a knighthood.

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