Hats off to the team at RS Components who on June 8 embarked on an epic charity cycle ride covering 1,100 miles from Aberdeen to London, with an ambitious goal of raising £250,000 for Children with Cancer UK.
More than 60 employees from RS took part in the ‘Tour de Branch’ challenge, which made its way down through the UK over the course of 12 days calling at each of the 16 RS Local branches nationwide.
The cyclists reached the finishing line at the company’s headquarters in Pancras Square, London on June 19, greeted by Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford, MBE and eight-year-old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer shortly before her second birthday and is just one of the many children who have received support from the charity.
Fellow RS employees were also there to celebrate the achievement of their colleagues, along with representatives of Children with Cancer UK.
Georgia Conway (12) from Dundee, another brave cancer survivor, was also present at an earlier stage of the challenge in Glasgow, to ring the bell at the start line for the day’s ride in her region.
Greg Rutherford said: “Research into childhood cancer is a cause particularly close to my heart – I have lost several family members to the disease and, as a father myself, the thought of children facing cancer, and the harsh treatments associated with it, is devastating. I’m honoured to be a part of this RS fundraising event which will help Children with Cancer UK continue to support research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer in children and young people.”
Phoebe said: “I think it is really impressive and cool that people have ridden so far and that all the money they are raising is going to Children with Cancer UK.”
Laura, Phoebe’s mum, added: “Every pedal has helped raise money that will go towards funding lifesaving childhood cancer research and raising awareness of the disease. Thanks to everyone in all of the RS branches, and particularly the cyclists. I’m in awe of you all.”
The Tour de Branch has been a physically challenging fundraiser, which averaged a daily mileage of around 90 miles and at its highest a climb to an altitude of 5,700 metres through Scotland last week.
Just four strenuous cyclists, all employees based at RS in Corby, Northamptonshire, cycled the entire route covering the length of the UK, at times through challenging weather conditions.
As well as a physical support team providing the riders with nutritional, medical and safety assistance along the route, each bicycle was equipped with a sensor unit mounted to the handlebars to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity.
Mike England, President EMEA at RS, who cycled part of the route, said: “As a global business with more than 80 years of operations in the UK, we have always been involved in charitable events and efforts, whether as group fundraisers or as individuals. However, this latest challenge has taken our commitment one stage further, with so many of our employees nationwide working together to make it happen.”
RS has been supporting Children with Cancer UK for the past two years as its chosen national charity, with employees taking part in activities such as marathons, mountain climbing, swimming, cycling, baking and dancing – all to help raise funds for the charity, whose vision is a world where no child dies from cancer.
Since its launch 30 years ago, the charity’s investment in specialist research work has helped increase survival rates in children with cancer from about 64 in 1990 to 84 per cent* in 2017.
Children with Cancer UK Senior Corporate Manager Zahra Scott said: “The Tour de Branch represents the biggest corporate cycling fundraiser in the history of our charity and shows just how committed RS is to our cause of helping more children with cancer ring the end of treatment bell. Funds raised during the challenge will mean we can continue to invest in vital specialist childhood cancer research and keep families together.”
The Tour de Branch challenge has succeeded in raising £230,000 to date, boosted significantly by generous sponsorship from a number of supplier companies and RS customers. These include Adobe, Ansmann Energy, ATOS, BOX, Computer Centre, Dimension Data, Dormer, Druck, Elektro-Automatik, Karcher, Lapp Group, Norbar, Oracle, Rocol, SAP, SDL, TCFM, Weidmuller.
Further donations to help Children with Cancer UK can be made via the RS Tour de Branch JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rscomponentstourdebranch or by texting RSTOUR to 70007 to donate £3.00.
Chapeau: l to r – Chris Chapman, Alan Mears, Daniel Childerhouse, Russell Bradbury, the four riders who cycled the entire 1,100 mile route.