From the 17th to 21st of September, a team of riders from Fujitsu took part in the SSAFA Ride of Britain. I spoke to Colin Robinson, leader of the cycling team, and Maxine Ashbrook from our defence business, to find out more about the event and Fujitsu’s background with SSAFA.
JM – We’re really proud of our team’s achievement in the ride – but first could you tell us more about SSAFA and Fujitsu’s relationship with them?
MA – Of course. SSAFA, established in 1885, are the longest running Services charity in the UK and provide practical, emotional & financial support to all current and ex-service personnel and their families.
Fujitsu have been a corporate friend of SSAFA for the past 12 years, but over the past 3 or 4 years in particular we’ve really increased our shared activities with them. Last year we donated £25,000 to support SSAFA and hope to increase this to over £45,000 this year. It’s not just about fundraising either – we work very closely with SSAFA in our day-to-day business too and greatly value their opinions.
Most of all, SSAFA’s mission really resonates with our employees – many of whom are themselves ex-services. It’s really great to see the difference SSAFA make, and our people are very enthusiastic about getting involved and lending their support!
JM – That’s fantastic. So what’s the Ride of Britain all about, and how are Fujitsu involved?
CR – It’s a cycling event aimed at both raising money and raising awareness of SSAFA’s mission. Taking place over 5 days, we rode over 500 miles from Edinburgh to London – seeing some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside en route.
In addition to being lead sponsor for the event, Fujitsu people have steadily increased our involvement in the ride – starting with one participant in 2012 to a team of nine this year. We set everyone on the team a fundraising target of £1300 each and I’m happy to say they far exceeded this – reaching a combined total of over £15,000.
JM – Wow! That’s a great effort from the team, not just in the ride but raising money too. Can you tell me any more about the places you saw on the route, and what the high points of the ride were?
CR – Sure. From the start in Edinburgh, we followed a route that took in Newcastle, Harrogate, Newark and Cambridge before finishing at the Tower of London. We followed part of the 2014 Tour de France route over the Pennines – which was also the hilliest part of the trip, hard work but very satisfying to complete.
My personal high point of the ride was the finish and seeing the poppies at the Tower of London. We received an incredible welcome from family, friends and colleagues and it really put into context what the team had achieved.
Everyone on the team of course have their own personal high points, but I think we’d all agree we couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic, motivated and supportive group – it was a real team effort and I’m proud of everyone involved.
JM – It was an incredible achievement for all the riders – and of course not forgetting the support crew who made it possible too. What does the future hold for SSAFA and Fujitsu?
MA – Well, first of all we’re still fundraising via the riders individual pages (Listed below.) until the end of October – and I know SSAFA would be hugely appreciative of any additional contributions.
Given how successful the event was this year, SSAFA have already started planning the Ride of Britain 2015, for which registration is already open.
Of course we’re going to put together a Fujitsu team again for next year – and we’re already looking for volunteers within the company. However, SSAFA believe they can accommodate up to 100 riders next year, so I’d encourage any cyclists reading this to sign up – it’s a unique experience, and supporting a truly worthy cause.
JM – Colin, Maxine, thank you very much for your time, and a huge “well done” again to everybody on the team!
All the team would like to thank SSAFA for organising a fantastic event, and to all the volunteers & support team who made it possible. Our Team Fujitsu riders – with links to their fundraising pages – were:
|Joe Gray||Carl Horrocks|
|Steve Marchant||Damian Moran|
|Ryan Ordidge||Colin Robinson|
|Simon Robinson||Lorna Stephens|
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