Corby’s RS Components staff take part in epic 1,100 mile charity bike ride

RS staff who took part in the challenge
RS staff who took part in the challenge

Staff from RS Components were among people aiming to raise £250,000 for a children’s cancer charity.

The ‘Tour de Branch’ ride from Aberdeen to London involved 60 staff from branches of RS across the country with an ambitious goal of raising £250,000 for Children with Cancer UK.

The cyclists arriving in Corby

The cyclists arriving in Corby

Many of the participants were staff based at the company’s premises in Corby, four of whom rode the entire 1,100-mile stretch.

The Tour de Branch is a physically demanding fundraiser, averaging a daily mileage of around 90 miles and a climb to an altitude of 5,700 metres through Scotland.

With almost 600 miles under their belts, the cyclists reached over the halfway mark at the RS Corby site on a day that saw them cover 107 miles from Alfreton to Nuneaton, stopping in Nottingham and Corby.

Fellow staff were in Corby to celebrate the achievement of their colleagues and to provide encouragement for the remainder of the challenge, which finished at the company’s headquarters in Pancras Square, London, on June 19.

Olympic gold medallist Greg Rutherford, MBE was at the start line on June 10 to officially launch the challenge from the RS Local Glasgow branch. He shared the honour with 12-year-old Georgia Conway from Dundee, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of 23 months and is just one of the many children who have received support from the charity.

Greg was also at the finishing line in London to greet the cyclists and officially close the challenge, along with Phoebe (8) from London, another brave cancer survivor.

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.”

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.

Pete Malpas, Head of Region Northern Europe 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, who attended the celebrations in Corby 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 just over £220,000 to date, boosted significantly by generous sponsorship from a number of supplier companies and RS customers. Further donations to help Children with Cancer UK can be made via the RS Tour de Branch JustGiving page or by texting RSTOUR to 70007 to donate £3.00.