A bank worker from Tyneside is joining colleagues on an epic challenge to help young people in the UK.
The Virgin Strive Challenge, which takes place in August, will see a team of 10 people strive to reach the summit of the Matterhorn, starting from London and entirely under their own steam.
They will run, row, cycle, hike and climb over 600 miles and on the way they will be supported by many other colleagues from across various Virgin Group companies.
Among the team will be Barry Coleman, an HR manager for Virgin Money in Gosforth, Newcastle.
He said: “The Virgin Strive Challenge will be one of the toughest challenges of my life, cycling over 3,000km, but one that I am really looking forward to. I have been getting in lots of cycling practice and this weekend I will ride in my first ever Virgin Money Cyclone, taking on the 104-mile route. I might not be Bradley Wiggins but being able to make a difference to the lives of young people will help spur me on when the going gets tough.”
The overall Virgin Strive Challenge aims to raise £750,000 for Big Change projects, which support young people in the UK in developing the life skills they need.
The Challenge also hoes to spark a huge conversation about opportunities for young people, and the importance of setting goals - and striving to make a difference.
Sir Richard Branson’s son Sam is a member of the Core Team of 10 and he will be supported by, amongst others, a Virgin Money team based in Gosforth. 12 Virgin Money colleagues will help the cause and run, row, cycle, hike and climb as part of the challenge.
They will collectively run 250km and cycle 3,291km with the aim of raising at least £16,500 towards the overall goal
The Virgin Money cyclists are Mr Coleman, David Buxton, Martin Foote, Matt Elliott, Phil Atkinson and Phil Neal. The Virgin Money running team is Andy Bobbin, Dan Edwards, Gavin Wye, Rob Skinn, Tom Crossley and Tori Parkinson.
Last night also saw the start of the Virgin Money Cyclone, a four-day festival of cycling that is expected to attract more than 3,000 to a number of races in the North East.
Among those taking part will be GB Paralympian Dam Sarah Storey.