A FORMER Hollyoaks actor swapped his usual drinking hole for the Rovers Return and Woolpack as part of a charity cycle ride ahead of the Tour de France.

Stockton Heath star Darren Jeffries, who played OB in the soap, pedalled the 60-mile distance across the Pennines between Coronation Street and Emmerdale’s pubs with some celebrity friends to raise cash for two charities.

But he admitted if it had not have been for his pal and fellow former soap star Matt Littler’s cycling experience, the ride could have been a lot different.

The presenter added: “We have done a few different events for charity but I have done a lot more running and Matt (who played Max Cunningham in the soap) does the cycling.

“This time we decided to team up and he’s given me a few tips as well as giving me a pair of padded shorts when I turned up in a normal pair.

“I don’t think my backside would have survived 60 miles in the pair I was going to wear but he’s a good friend like that.

“Everyone was in good spirits and we really enjoyed the day for two very worthwhile causes.”

The Tour de ITV, which raised cash for Olympic and Paralympic legacy charity Join In and Marie Curie Cancer Care, took place four days before the real cycling stars take on a similar route from Yorkshire in the Tour de France on Saturday.

It added to an exciting year for actor Darren who has now moved back to Stockton Heath after a five-year spell in London and got engaged just over a month ago.

He said: “It’s really nice coming back home to my family and fiance and it’s a real close-knit community in Stockton Heath compared to London.

“I knew my fiance was the one for me so I wasn’t nervous about proposing on her birthday in Manchester.

“I still get called OB every now and again in the village but it’s only two letters so I’ve come to terms with it over the years!”

Visit itv.com/localheroes to support the charity Join In.