Scores of waste industry workers in the North East are gearing up to take part in a 2,400 mile, UK cross-country cycle ride to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Big Ride cycle relay, organised by national recycling and waste management company SITA UK, started on Monday from one of the company’s most northern sites near Aberdeen on and will finish at its most southerly facility in St Erth, Cornwall, on June 20.
The winding route, designed to include as many of SITA UK’s facilities as possible, makes the journey almost three times as long as the traditional Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle route of 874 miles.
Nearly 300 members of SITA UK staff, from “bin men” and women to board members, will complete the cross-country cycle in relay legs, which snake between 100 of SITA UK’s facilities up, down and across the UK.
North East workers will become involved when the Big Ride leaves the Hexham household waste and recycling centre in Northumberland today.
The riders will cycle from Hexham to SITA UK’s site at Campground in Wrekenton, Gateshead. The tour will then progress to the company’s sites at Byker in Newcastle, Wallsend in North Tyneside, Middlefields in South Tyneside and its commercial and industrial waste collection depot in Washington.
The final North East leg will be to SITA’s energy-from-waste facility on Teesside.
Participants have been able to sign up to ride as many legs as they wish with some opting to cycle more than 300 miles of the total journey.
The individual legs range from three to 100 miles in length and all participants have been encouraged to raise at least £50 in sponsorship for Macmillan Cancer Support.
SITA UK chose Macmillan Cancer Support as its national charity in 2013 and has so far raised nearly £20,000 by holding various events .
Chief executive officer of SITA UK, David Palmer-Jones, will be riding a 27-mile leg, said: We decided on The Big Ride because we wanted to stage an event that would encourage collaboration between our numerous sites, and include a large majority of our nearly 6,000 strong workforce in one way or another.”
The target of £50,000 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for a year.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We are delighted to support our partners in this fundraising activity for such a worthwhile charity. We have placed donation tins at Middlefields to boost their coffers still further and will be providing the cyclists with some hard-earned refreshments.”