Hundreds of cyclists from all over the country are gearing up for a huge Marks & Spencer charity challenge at Rockingham circuit in Corby tomorrow (Friday, June 21).
More than 1,400 employees of the retail giant from the UK and the Republic of Ireland are taking part in the BIKE 24 charity cycle event and they aim to raise £1.5m for five leading charities.
Among them will be staff from M&S stores in Kettering, Northampton, Peterborough and Leicester.
Store manager from M&S Northampton, Pete Dobson, who is taking part in the Le Mans inspired 24-hour endurance event, said: “Following the success of British cycling last summer, the nation has really taken the sport to its hearts.
“With more than double the number of participants this year, we’re delighted that our BIKE 24 charity cycle challenge will be bigger and better than ever. That’s why we’ve set an ambitious target to raise £1.5m for these five truly worthwhile charities.
“We’re looking forward to getting behind each of the teams as we sell cakes, cycle and collect donations in store to help to reach the target.”
Employees will compete in teams of four, with a cyclist from each team on the track from 5pm tomorrow until 5pm on Saturday (June 22).
In addition, 23 experienced solo riders will also be competing individually and will stay in the saddle for the whole duration of the challenge. Each lap of the circuit will help M&S to raise crucial funds in support of its five charity partners, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Action Medical Research, the Marie Keating Foundation, Action Cancer and Prostate Cancer UK.
To further support the challenge, employees at M&S Northampton are boosting their fundraising efforts with staff activities such as holding bake sales.
Chief Executive of Rockingham, Peter Hardman, said: “We hope the money raised we hope will make a huge difference to a lot of people’s lives, which is why we are delighted to be supporting the event.”
BIKE24 is part of the Your M&S Charity Challenge, which will see a host of fundraising activities taking place at all M&S’ UK and Irish stores from the beginning until the end of August.
Gaby Roslin, patron of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “Marks & Spencer has been a wonderful supporter of Breakthrough Breast Cancer for over 12 years and this challenge is just another example of their fantastic fundraising work. As a long-term supporter of Breakthrough myself, I am so happy to be supporting the BIKE 24 challenge and all the fantastic M&S employees that are taking part. Their fundraising will help to make a big difference to the lives of the 50,000 women and 400 men who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK.”
Ronan Keating, co-founder of the Marie Keating Foundation, said: “On behalf of my family and the team at the Marie Keating Foundation I want to thank Marks & Spencer for supporting us again this year with the BIKE 24 challenge. Through your efforts and success the Foundation can continue to provide its cancer awareness campaigns and support cancer patients in need financially. Marks & Spencer and its people has, since the beginning been a true partner to us in our fight against cancer, and for this support we truly are so grateful.”