Employees embark on 375 mile bike ride for charity

Friday 4th May 2012

Fourteen Smiths News PLC employees will set off on Sunday 24 June on a sponsored six day bike ride from Southampton to Newcastle to raise cash for charities.

The bike ride is part of the company’s employee-led Community Week fundraising initiative, which aims to raise £70,000 this year for communities and charities.

Smiths News PLC, the UK’s largest wholesaler of newspapers, magazines and books organised the 375 mile Bike Ride as one of its flagship fundraising events for staff. The other event is a challenging 26 mile walk across part of The Ridgeway, in Oxfordshire which will start on Saturday 30th June.

The Company is delighted that fourteen members of staff are taking part in this year’s bike ride. Each cyclist is required to raise at least £2,000 in sponsorship for the charity of their choice. Some of the charities include; Marie Curie, the Alzheimer’s Society, Cancer Research UK, RSPCA, and NewstrAid (the industry’s own charity which supports retailers and their families when they fall on hard times).

Father and son duo, Martin and Ben Beach, employees at Bertrams are two of the cyclists taking part. Martin, aged 53, Computer Systems Installer said:

“I’m fairly old hand to cycling, I love it, especially long distances. I have completed some big bike rides in the past, including Whitehaven to Newcastle, twice. Last year, I cycled with Smiths News colleagues in the Aberystwyth to Norwich bike ride and managed to raise over £1,800 for Quidenham Children’s Hospice in Norfolk. This year, my sponsorship money will go to the East Anglia Children’s Hospice, as I think they do a tremendously good job for children who need hospice care. I’m looking forward to the ride in June, especially cycling in a group, as I enjoy being part of a team and the camaraderie of being with other cyclists.”

Martin’s son, Ben, 28 who is IT Support Technician at Bertrams will be cycling alongside his father to raise money for his chosen charity; the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Ben says:

“I’ve been cycling for a few years now. I completed the Norwich 100 mile bike ride last year and raised money for the British Heart Foundation. I enjoy the challenges on these long distance bike rides as well as raising money for good causes.”

The youngest member in the group is Cayleb Needham. Cayleb is 21 years old and is a Senior Supervisor at Smiths News’ depot in Newport. Cayleb took part in the company’s charity bike ride last year but has not done any physical activity since. Cayleb says:

“I am curious to see how I will do on this year’s ride, as I haven’t cycled a long distance for a while. I know that I’ll be looking forward to crossing the finishing line, although the laughs with the team during the ride are always great. However, I’m not looking forward to cycling up any hills that are planned en route.”

When the cyclists cross the finish line at Smiths News’ depot in Newcastle, Ian Mearns, Newcastle’s MP will be there to congratulate the cyclists along with their family, friends and colleagues. Mark Cashmore, Group Chief Executive of Smiths News PLC said:

“I have been amazed by the magnificent effort the staff have been putting in to train for this bike ride. The amount of hard work to raise money for our Community Week has been incredible. It is a testament to our staff to see such enthusiasm in the company for supporting local charities and community groups. I wish them the very best of luck and we will be cheering them on.”

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