Directors humbled after bike ride in Africa urge others to go down good cause route
THE owners of a Derbyshire company were 'humbled' by a charity ride in Africa, where they helped local schoolchildren, and suggest others do more to help the less fortunate.
Stuart Pinson, Tony Seabridge and Peter Ward, directors of Ilkeston roofing and cladding specialists Cladceil, swapped boardroom and workshop for a rewarding but gruelling 250-mile bike ride in Tanzania.
The scenery and wilfdlife were beautiful, but cycling was hard work, starting before dawn to avoid the midday heat, and even pushing their bikes through sand at times.
“After the second day we were so exhausted we could not speak and wondered what we had let ourselves in for,” said 43-year-old Stuart from Ilkeston.
But the pain was worth the gain of knowing how they had helped the British Heart Foundation - by raising more than £11,500 in sponsorship out of £61, 635 currently collected by the 30-strong group they were a part of - and giving away books and stationey items to two village schools.
“We were humbled by the experience,” said Stuart. “It was emotional to go into the schools and see how little they had in terms of equipment, clothes, food and shelter.
“We had heard about the poverty but to witness it first hand was completely different.”
Peter(45), from Bramcote, said: “When we handed over the goods, the children were very excited. “They were even fighting over pencils.”
At one village near the town of Madwa, a cyclist gave a football to replace the crude one made up of tape that children were playing with. They ended up with a kickabout - six of the cyclists against 50 kids!
Tony(47), from Ilkeston, said: “It was a great privilege to spend some time with the kids, playing games with them and even teaching them the hokey-cokey.”
“We had not done anything in the corporate social responsibility line before, but this experience has shown us what we can do and we look forward to doing more in the future. It's something we would recommend other companies to follow.”
As well as Cladceil, goods were donated by Clarke's of Nottingham and VOW Europe.
Nancy Smyth, head of events at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Thanks to the directors of Cladceil for taking on this challenge and supporting our work. Without our supporters we cannot continue to fund life-saving research into heart disease and provide those affected with the care and support they need.”