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Thameslink and Great Northern staff get on their bikes (and much more) for charity

Press Release   •   Aug 09, 2017 17:36 BST

Ben Groome, Operational Change and Implementation Manager, and Sarah Breed, Local Operations Manager, members of the cycling team at Luton, present the money to Caron Hooper, Corporate Fundraiser at Keech Hospice Care (centre)

Staff from across the Thameslink and Great Northern rail networks have raised over £2,300 in seven days for Luton-based Keech Hospice Care, the staff’s own choice as the company’s good cause. The charity supports adults and children with life-limiting illnesses.

Staff got involved in a host of activities during National Small Charities Week to raise this donation. Their week began with a successful bake sale at the company's head office in the City of London. Next day the two brands took each other on in a ‘cycle the distance’ challenge to see who could cycle the furthest on an exercise bike and collect the most donations from passengers across the three-hour evening peak.

The challenge was hotly contested (as well as being genuinely hot, owing to the weather) with much support for each network. Although the Great Northern team at Hitchin had three times the number of volunteers, the Thameslink group at Luton emerged victorious with a total distance of 107 kilometres.

Other events across the week included a raffle, a pub quiz, and ‘guess the number of lollies in a jar’, alongside the company donation of 10p for every train arriving within a minute of its scheduled timetable. A 5-a-side football tournament rounded off the fun.

Charles Horton, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), operator of Thameslink and Great Northern, said: "At GTR, we are committed to supporting local charities across our network. Keech Hospice Care is a cause that our staff are passionate about and it's wonderful to see so many of them go out of their way to help raise much-needed funds. A donation of over £2,300 is an excellent result for the hard work of our teams and I would also like to pass on my thanks to everyone who volunteered their own time to help raise this money."

Caron Hooper, Corporate Fundraiser at Keech Hospice Care, said: “As one of only a small number of hospices in the UK that supports both adult and child patients, we care for children across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes who have terminal and life-limiting conditions, for their parents and siblings, and adults in Luton and South Bedfordshire who need our support. With Thameslink and Great Northern’s amazing support we can continue to make the difference when it matters the most.”

Keech Hospice Care was chosen by staff as the company's corporate charity as part of a recent employee survey, in recognition of all the support they provide across our network. Since then, staff and the company have come up with a variety of ways to support the cause and so far raised almost £10,000 for the hospice, which relies on the community to raise 70 per cent of the £5.6 million it needs as a charity to survive.

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Notes to editors

For more information email press.office@gtrailway.com or call

Thameslink and Great Northern press office: 0203 750 2031

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services. It is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.

The £7bn Thameslink Programme will bring hundreds more daily services from 2018, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from 12 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve infrastructure reliability across the GTR network. GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 1,400 new carriages so far.

GTR is modernising how it works, with new technology in use at our stations and on our trains, smartcard ticketing and a new, flexible on-board staff role on many Southern services. This ensures fewer cancellations, and with more staff on board our trains now than ever before, passengers are enjoying a much better level of on-board customer service.

The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.