The Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire for Le Grand Depart has inspired keen cyclists in the region to saddle up and pedal for miles.
Staff from 21 branches of Newcastle Building Society will be taking on the full 3,656km distance of the famous race in their respective branch offices next week.
The Newcastle’s Tour De Branch Challenge has been set up as part of its ongoing Cornerstone of the Community campaign, through which individual branches provide support to organisations and good causes in their areas.
Each branch team will raise money for their respective local good causes, which include a range of community charities, hospices, schools and voluntary organisations.
Natalie Falkous, head of corporate social responsibility at the Newcastle, said: “Having the Tour De France’s Grand Depart in Northern England is something very special, and we wanted to do something that both marked this unique event and added to the fundraising work that our branch teams do for good causes in their various locations.
“As a mutual organisation, our aim is to contribute to the communities in which we’re located, and the good causes that each branch has chosen to support through the Cornerstone campaign provide direct and often invaluable help, support and advice to great numbers of local people.
“Each team will be aiming to ride around 200km in a single day, and while we have some keen riders among our staff, a lot of the participants will be anything but regular cyclists, so it will take a lot of effort and commitment for them to reach their personal finishing lines.”
Meanwhile, two officials from the Tour de France have congratulated all the riders at the finish line of the Tour de Baker Tilly, a 660-mile bike ride organised by the accountancy firm which has so far raised £13,000 for charity.
Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, a former Tour de France rider and twice winner of Paris-Roubaix, and Cyrille Tricart, head of external relations for the Tour de France, welcomed the riders at a ceremony in Leeds at the conclusion of the 10-day event.
Around 300 staff and guests from across the UK took part in the Tour de Baker Tilly which has been raising money for Anthony Nolan and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The volunteer riders cycled at least one of 11 legs, with around 30 riders covering between 50 and 80 miles per day.
After setting off from Baker Tilly’s London headquarters on June 23, the tour stopped en route at the firm’s offices in Bromley, Tunbridge Wells, Gatwick, Guildford, Southampton, Basingstoke, Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol, Glasgow, Grangemouth, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester and Preston before arriving at the Leeds office in Whitehall Quay.
Partner Martin Rossiter, who helped organise the Tour de Baker Tilly, said: “The event exceeded all expectations; we have beaten our target and raised more than £13,000 for Anthony Nolan and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.”
Leeds partner Neil Sevitt added: “We are immensely grateful to Gilbertand Cyrille from the Tour de France team who gave up their time to support our event.”