Press release -
Railway colleagues clock up the miles in aid of NHS heroes
A team of Govia Thameslink Railway colleagues have cycled, walked and jogged more than 800 miles to raise cash for NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients.
The eight Train Presentation colleagues came up with the idea of covering the distance from the most northern depots on the GTR network in Bedford and Peterborough, down to the depots in Littlehampton and Bognor Regis in the south west and Brighton and Eastbourne in the south east - a total of 349 miles.
Adhering to Government guidelines at the time, each colleague exercised in their local area and logged their distance on running application, Strava. However, in just two weeks they far exceeded 349 miles and instead covered an impressive 838.5 miles - the equivalent of travelling from Land’s End in Penzance to John O’Groats in the far north of Scotland.
They also smashed their fundraising target of £1,000 for the NHS Charities Together by raising £1,880.
The team consisted of Anthony Dowsett, based at the Brighton and Eastbourne depots, James Canty, based at Littlehampton and Bognor Regis depots, Janine Foulger and Daniel Odgers at Bedford, Simon Beal at Littlehampton, Emilia Zawisza at Cricklewood, and Allison Welsh and Arun James, who are both based at the Selhurst depot.
Train presentation manager, Anthony, 48, said: “We are full of admiration for the amazing work everyone at the NHS is doing, and as fellow key workers we wanted to show our support for them.
“Covering hundreds of miles has been both challenging and great fun. It’s spurred us on to up our fitness levels and it’s been incredibly rewarding to have smashed our fundraising target for NHS Charities Together.”
To donate, visit their JustGiving page at https://tinyurl.com/ybgr3hj3
Notes to editors
Additional information on participants
Daniel Odgers is 38 and lives in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He is a shunter manager for Great Northern and Thameslink, based in Bedford. Daniel has worked on the railway since 2012. Before this challenge, he would normally just go on a couple of walks a week, covering about two miles. He has a three-year-old daughter called Layla.
James Canty is 30 and lives in Rustington, West Sussex. He has worked on the railway for 11 years, starting on the platforms at Sutton. James is now a train presentation manager based at Littlehampton and Bognor Regis. He and his wife both met on the railway and have an 18-month-old toddler. James said: “My fitness level before this challenge was pretty woeful and I have really enjoyed getting on the bike, taking in the new area I have moved to and trying to improve my overall health. Doing it as part of a team has been great because it has motivated me to push myself, and we all encourage each other on Strava with positive comments. I will definitely keep this up and hopefully make it an annual tradition.”
Anthony Dowsett is 48 and has worked on the railway for the last nine years. He was previously a station manager at Brighton and is currently a train presentation manager for Brighton and Eastbourne. He said: “Many years ago, I was in the British trampoline team for several years and I’m still an active coach, however I have never kept up my fitness levels. I am now on a mission to get fit again, lose some weight and this lockdown and charity event has provided the perfect opportunity.”
Janine Foulger is 50 and lives in Clapham, Bedford. She is the depot manager for the three Thameslink train presentation sites in Bedford and has worked on the railway since 1986, taking only a few years’ break to have her only daughter. Janine said: “After leaving school I confess I did no regular exercise at all. I decided to make some major lifestyle changes approaching my 50th birthday so I packed up smoking, lost some weight and signed up and completed the NHS Couch to 5k programme. I now have two dogs so they ensure that I walk every day. But this challenge has encouraged me to get my trainers back on and regularly run again. So now if it's a run day the dogs also have to run with me - much to my poochon Alfie's disgust!”
Arun James is 43, a father-of-one and lives in Redhill. He is a train presentation manager based at Selhurst and has worked on the railway since 2005. During the summer months, he sometimes commutes to work by bicycle, covering 30 miles a day. Arun said: “The challenge was great fun. I enjoyed the fact that others in the team were actively involved and super motivated, at the same time I enjoyed pushing myself to beat my own miles on the few occasions that I still continue to do. There is nothing better than cycling at dawn or dusk on a brighter day, before or after work, especially the countryside around Rusper, Godalming and places around Surrey hills that I explored.”
Allison Welsh works in administration for the Train Presentation South team. Allison said: “I try to go for a ten-mile walk once a week, and as I don't have the time during the week I do 8,000 steps a day while watching TV - my kind of multi-tasking.”
Emilia Zawisza is Thameslink’s depot manager at Cricklewood and she also runs Brighton Down yard. Emilia contributed to the challenge by walking several times a week.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria