A team of intrepid cyclists have raised over £10,000 in an epic 105 mile ride across Lancashire – all to raise money for local charities.
One of the team, elite cyclist and former British Hill-climb champion Jim Henderson, gave himself an even bigger challenge, completing the course twice and covering over 200 miles. To make things even harder, he did it all on a fixed-wheel bike, with no gears.
The cyclists - all colleagues at Leyland Trucks and Lancashire DAF – completed the cycling extravaganza in a bid to raise cash for Leyland Trucks’ Helping Hand charity, which supports good causes in the region.
The Factory to Forecourt event saw the team cycle 105 miles, from the Leyland Trucks facility in Leyland early in the morning of Saturday 14th July, to the Lancashire DAF dealership in Preston, where they were welcomed home with a family festival later that day.
The route took the team and their two-vehicle support crew on a huge circle of North Lancashire, from Leyland to Preston, east to Settle, across to Lancaster and back to Preston, with just three rest stops.
The 18-strong cycling team were inspired to take up the cross-county challenge by the work of Helping Hand, the Leyland Trucks employee charity, which will donate all money raised to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, Cancer Help (Preston) Ltd and The Christie Charity.
The riders themselves ranged in ability and role, with three members of the senior management team taking part along with Lancashire DAF MD Paul Entwistle. The team split into groups, and made sure even those who were not finding it easy, kept going.
Peter Jukes, Leyland Trucks Operations Director said: “It was certainly a tough challenge, but we really wanted to do something meaningful and ride as a team. The charities we chose to support were brought into sharp focus recently when we sadly lost Chris Whittle, one of our own employees to cancer just a few weeks ago, this spurred us on to raise as much as we could. The ride was not about getting a fast time, but about working together as a team as we do at work and helping each other complete the ride, which I am proud to say we did.”
Helping Hand Chairman Matt Kersey, and support crew for the day said, “Last year Helping Hand raised a staggering £50,000 for charity, which is amazing. This year, we want to raise even more, and this event is one of the major fundraisers in our plan. We are so proud of the team for raising such a huge amount for some really good causes.”
He added, “The three cancer charities we have chosen all do so much for our community, and with a large workforce, sadly many lives of our employees have been effected by the disease, and many helped by these amazing charities. This is our way of giving something back.”
The group were met at Lancashire DAF by the Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor John Rainsbury and a true British summer party. Cllr Rainsbury said, “Congratulations to all the riders for their efforts, it’s a wonderful thing the Helping Hand charity does and it’s been a pleasure and an honour to be a part of this event today.”
Helping Hand presented the three chosen cancer charities with donations as the riders arrived. Speaking at the event, Cathy Skidmore, Corporate Fundraising Manager at Rosemere Cancer Foundation said, “What a terrific challenge and congratulations to all those who took part on their fantastic achievement. We are so grateful to the team for their fundraising efforts. The money raised will be used towards the creation of a completely remodelled cancer ward at Royal Preston Hospital with state of the art facilities for patients and their relatives, to create a ward with modern and flexible spaces, particularly of benefit to those travelling long distances to visit loved ones, offering more privacy and dignity to patients and more age appropriate areas and facilities for teenagers and young adults. Thank you to the staff of Leyland Trucks for all their support!””
Jeanette Smalley, General Manager at Cancer Help (Preston) commented: “The Helping Hand Charity has done great things supporting local charities over the years and we are delighted that they have thought about supporting Cancer Help again. All the hard work and dedicated training has paid off and we’re grateful to everyone for taking on such a long ride through at times a challenging landscape.”
The Helping Hand team worked with business partners to sponsor items such as team shirts, and the food and drink at the party, with companies including Atlas Copco, Handley James Consulting, Lancashire DAF, Specsavers, Goodyear, PPS Commercials Limited, Slater Safety, TCC Life, Fylde Executive Cars, Actemium, Made Profiles, and KP Industries all signing up to help raise money.