Coolair Regional Director Neil Gibbard led the 17-strong group on the six-day journey from Saigon in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia in aid of Challenge Cancer UK.
After 12 months of training on UK roads, Team Coolair faced cycling for up to eight hours a day along narrow paths and unmade cross-country tracks in crushing humidity and on one day high winds.
Neil, who led a similar charity ride two years ago, after which he was made a Corporate Ambassador for Challenge Cancer UK, organised the challenge with the support of his company’s supplier and business partner, Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems.
Neil, who also raised the largest individual sum of £9,030 towards the £80,846 total, said: “The team were all new to such a challenge and included biking novices, but everyone exceeded their physical and mental expectations - and their fundraising targets. Our many supporters and sponsors were tremendous in their encouragement and generosity.”
Accompanied by a local guide and a support vehicle for their bags, the party of 16 men and one woman cycled around paddy fields and along temple-lined tracks in the lush Mekong Delta in Vietnam and then through the dry lands of ancient Cambodia.
Laura Welsh, Contracts Co-ordinator for Coolair, which had three staff and two clients in the team, said: “It was an amazing experience cycling in the challenging terrain for up to 50 miles a day in the 40-degree heat, but it showed the value of teamwork as we encouraged each other on and at one point bunched together to protect ourselves from a strong headwind.
“The most memorable moments were our almost surreal arrival at the finish line, where it took a while for our achievement to sink in, and being shocked into silence on a visit to a Cambodian killing field.”
Simon Seaton-Smith, Director of Birmingham-based M&E consultants Couch Perry Wilkes, said: “Once we all realised what we accomplished, it made the hard work and dedication for raising the donations even more worthwhile. We were delighted to smash a very impressive target - and now Challenge Cancer UK will spend the money exactly as it should be distributed, and we would all do the ride again in a heartbeat.”
Team Coolair comprised Martin Atkins (Skerritt Electrical), Rodney Clarke (Dodd Group), John Ensell (Mitsubishi Electric), Mark Garstang (Coolair), Neil Gibbard (Coolair), Scott Lydon (Clancy Consulting), David Massey (Core Group Projects), Paul Mawdsley (Coolair), Lee Moores (Coolair), Carl Morphew (BSE3d), Joseph Pavitt (Norman Disney & Young), Lee Rattenbury (Grummant Heating), Craig Scott (GDM Partnership), Simon Seaton-Smith (Couch Perry Wilkes), Ian Webster (Kosco Interiors), Laura Welsh (Coolair) and Carl Wood (AF Connell).
Challenge Cancer UK raises funds for cancer awareness, prevention and research, patient treatment, care and support for those affected by cancer.