A group of BT staff are swapping their offices for the open road – but it’s all for a wheelie good cause.
The 60-strong team are getting on their bikes and cycling around 170 miles over three days to raise money for BBC Children in Need.
The colleagues, some of whom have not saddled up since childhood, are setting off from Birmingham Business Park, in Solihull, on the morning of Tuesday, November 15.
They will be coming from all corners of the UK to take part in the event, dubbed the Tour de BT.
The challenging route, which is due to include visits to several BT offices, will take the riders across the Midlands, from Solihull to Barlborough in Derbyshire, and onto Greater Manchester.
The most gruelling part of the ride is expected to be through the Peak District. Then it will be downhill from Buxton to Bolton, where the ride is due to finish on the afternoon of Thursday, November 17 – the day before the BBC Children in Need appeal show.
All those involved are part of BT’s corporate division, which is responsible for providing national sales and account management to large and medium-sized organisations.
The team building fund-raiser was the brainchild of Tim Skinner, BT’s solutions sales director, who is a keen cyclist.
He said: “As our team is spread around the country, we were keen to come up with a team building idea that we could all do together, whilst at the same time raising money for Children In Need. We’ve even persuaded our managing director to join in.”
They have set themselves the ambitious target of raising around £25,000.
The age range of the participating men and women – from early twenties through to mid-sixties – is matched only by their wide-ranging cycling experience.
Julie Goose, from Chesterfield, who leads a sales team in the East Midlands, only took up cycling around three months ago.
She said: “I’m a bit nervous as we countdown to the big day. The response to the cycling challenge has been amazing, we have over 30 people organising the event and around 60 riders fund-raising. As it looms the anxiety and panic training is starting, some of our riders having only recently bought bikes. But at the same time, I’m tremendously excited - the camaraderie is building and there’s a real buzz amongst the team.
“We’re all supporting each other – although it’s getting a bit competitive when it comes to the actual fund-raising, but that can only be a good thing.”
Sally Tyas, a sales manager from Solihull, is one of five women taking part.
She said: “I’ve been cycling for two years and love being part of Shipston Cycling Club. However, I have to admit, I’m a bit of a fair-weather cyclist – I prefer cycling in the sunshine – so I’m not sure how I’ll get on cycling through the Pennines at this time of the year, but it’s all for a good cause.”
Davit Gambo, a BT accounts executive from Bolton, is an active fundraiser, especially for good causes involving children.
He said: “BBC Children in Need is a charity that is particularly close to my heart because of the upbringing I experienced as a child back in Armenia. When I was growing up we didn’t have much, food, money or opportunities. Now I’m more settled, I’m keen to do whatever I can to make a difference.
“I put my name forward for my first charity event five years ago, and am now a passionate, active fundraiser having been involved in numerous events across the country. That being said, I don’t envisage for one moment any of them being as physically challenging as this bike ride!”
Scott Plaskett, a BT solutions sales consultant from Tiptree, is one of the novice riders taking part.
He said: “When I accepted the challenge, I didn’t even possess a road bike. This is such a great event, raising much-needed funds for the many children who so badly need our help. In addition, it’s bringing people together whilst encouraging us all to follow a healthier lifestyle.
This has opened up a whole new sport for me, enabling me to lose weight and start my journey to becoming fitter.”
Jon Pollock, a BT sales director from London, said: “Having only been on a bike seven times in the last 10 years and only seven times ever on a road bike, I would certainly describe myself as a beginner.
“I think BBC Children in Need is a fantastic cause and am really pleased to be supporting it in this very small way. BT’s attitude to supporting its staff in charity work is fantastic. The cycle team are combining raising some funds for Children in Need and visiting a few of our offices. This means we are doing some good whilst team building. I’m looking forward to finishing the ride in Bolton, after what I am sure will be a really tough three days.”
- BT has supported the BBC Children in Need charity since it formed in 1980 by providing the telephone network management and call centres to help raise money for disadvantaged children and young people.
- As usual, BT will also be operating five call centres on the night - in Glasgow, Lincoln, Newcastle, Warrington, and at the BT Tower in London – with hundreds of BT volunteers taking part.
Issued by the BT regional press office. For more information contact Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT
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