Nationwide ‘Tour de Branch’ bike ride completed by RS Components staff to raise money to combat childhood cancer
20 June 2019
RS Components staff have cycled 1,100 miles across the UK in a bid to raise £250,000 for Children with Cancer UK. The 12-day challenge was officially closed by Olympic champion, Greg Rutherford in London. So far, £230,000 has been raised – with a call for more donations to reach the target.
RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents, a global multi-channel distributors of industrial & electronic products & solutions, embarked on the epic charity cycle ride on the 8th June, covering 1,100 miles from Aberdeen to London, with an ambitious goal of raising £250,000 for Children with Cancer UK. More than 60 UK employees from RS took part in the ‘Tour de Branch’ challenge, which made its way down through the UK over the course of 12 days, calling at each of the 16 RS local branches nationwide.
Yesterday evening, on the 19th June, the cyclists reached the finishing line at the company’s headquarters in Pancras Square, London, greeted by Olympic gold medallist, Greg Rutherford, MBE and 8-year old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer shortly before her second birthday, and is just one of the many children who have received support from the charity. Fellow RS employees were also there to celebrate the achievement of their colleagues, along with representatives of Children with Cancer UK.
12-year old Georgia Conway from Dundee, another brave cancer survivor, was also present at an earlier stage of the challenge in Glasgow, to ring the bell at the start line for the day’s ride in her region.
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.”
Phoebe said: “I think it is really impressive and cool that people have ridden so far and that all the money they are raising is going to Children with Cancer UK.”
Laura, Phoebe’s mum, added: “Every pedal has helped raise money that will go towards funding lifesaving childhood cancer research and raising awareness of the disease. Thanks to everyone in all of the RS branches – and particularly the cyclists. I’m in awe of you all."
The ‘Tour de Branch’ has been a physically challenging fundraiser, averaging a daily mileage of around 90 miles, and, at its highest, a climb to an altitude of 5,700 feet through Scotland last week. Just four strenuous cyclists, all employees based at RS in Corby, Northamptonshire, cycled the entire route covering the length of the UK, at times through challenging weather conditions.
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.
Mike England, President, EMEA 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%* in 2017.
Children with Cancer UK Senior Corporate Manager, Zahra Scott 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 £230,000 to date, boosted significantly by generous sponsorship from a number of supplier companies, as well as RS customers**. Further donations to help Children with Cancer UK can be made via the RS ‘Tour de Branch’ JustGiving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rscomponentstourdebranch or by texting RSTOUR to 70007 to donate £3.00.
More information, images and videos from the challenge are available at: http://rstourdebranch.com/ and on social media via #rstourdebranch
*Survival rates are based on 5-year survival. 84% is an estimated figure by the Office of National Statistics, exact figures will be known in 2023.
**With thanks to corporate sponsorship from: Adobe, Ansmann Energy, ATOS, BOX, Computer Centre, Dimension Data, Dormer, Druck, Elektro-Automatik, Karcher, Lapp Group, Norbar, Oracle, Rocol, SAP, SDL, TCFM, Weidmuller
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