More than 110 novice riders and cycling enthusiasts from Leyland Trucks raised in excess of £16,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice and a number of other Lancashire charities, after covering a combined 8,000 miles in their 2019 Factory to Festival challenge.
This year’s annual event saw riders take on one of three routes – 30, 80 and 115 miles – in tough weather conditions, with the more challenging routes covering some notorious climbs and descents throughout the Lancashire countryside and beyond.
Starting at Leyland Trucks’ advanced manufacturing facility, the charity bike ride finished at Worden Park, which played host to this year’s Leyland Festival event and attracted more than 10,000 visitors throughout the day.
Cyclist and Leyland Trucks prototype manager, Stuart Derbyshire, age 53, explains: “There were a few times where I stopped cycling and I dashed under a tree to escape the downpour, but we all got back safely with a few stories to tell.
“I’ve lost friends too soon in life and that motivated me right to the end. I’m a Wiganer, but I’ve worked in Leyland for 37 years and wanted to give back. St Catherine’s has looked after colleagues of mine and are part of the community, so anything that we can do to give back is really positive.”
As a household name in Lancashire and one of Britain’s most well-known manufacturers, Leyland Trucks’ Helping Hand has to-date raised more than £1million for local causes. Its charity committee ensures each donation creates a positive legacy and works to safeguard the crucial services that support local people.
Matt Kersey, chairman of the Helping Hand Committee at Leyland Trucks, added: “Our first bike ride was just 11 people, so to see more than 100 riders saddle up this year was truly inspiring.
“I want to thank all our riders, who because of their hard work, dedication and lots of training, together with the incredibly kind donations from our sponsors, raised more than £16,000. We donated £12,000 of the total raised to St Catherine’s Hospice, with the remaining being split between a number of other good local charities and causes, including Tender Nursing Care.
“Our entire workforce and much of Lancashire feels a close affinity to St Catherine’s, which shows with the record turnout. We’re proud to have a workforce that rallies together and supports one another, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger turnout next year.”
Norman Cutler, senior community engagement officer from St Catherine’s Hospice, concluded: “From everyone at St Catherine’s, we want to say a huge thank you to those who took part in the Factory to Festival challenge and to all those who have sponsored and helped to raise such an incredible amount of money.
“It costs £5.6million each year to run our services and we must raise £3.8million of that from fundraising events like these. We’ve a total of 19 beds within the hospice where we care for people living with life-shortening illnesses, but our reach stretches throughout the local community via our specialist nurses that visit patients within their own homes.
“We couldn’t afford to do this without the support of our amazing communities like the staff at Leyland Trucks. Everyone involved is helping so many people that they don’t know and will never meet, and for that, they deserve a big pat on the back.”
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The 2019 Factory to Festival challenge was sponsored by Leyland Packaging, Goodyear, Lancashire DAF, Atlas Copco, Essential Industrial Services, South Ribble Borough Council, Preston’s College, Actemium and Maxion Wheels.