Back in the saddle for second charity challenge


Water workers are stepping up a gear for a second charity cycle ride.

A team of 22 Northumbrian Water employees are aiming to complete the 200-mile Coast and Castles route this Bank Holiday weekend, in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The ride takes in the fabulous coastal scenery and countryside between Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh, including views of Tynemouth Priory, Dunstanburgh Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island, Seahouses, Arthurs Seat and Edinburgh Castle.

This latest challenge follows a successful Coast to Coast fundraiser in May last year, when the group raised more than £5,300 for WaterAid by cycling 140 miles from Whitehaven in Cumbria, to Sunderland.

The team, who all work for the water company’s Information Systems department at Pity Me, Durham, will each cycle 60 miles on Saturday May 28, 70 miles on Sunday May 29 and complete the final 70 miles on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30.

Team member Kevin Thompson, who lives in Sunderland and works as an applications team leader at Northumbrian Water’s head office in Pity Me, Durham, said: “After completing the Coast to Coast challenge last year, we are stepping up a gear this year, by cycling even further and hopefully raising more money for a worthwhile charity!

“We chose the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as our chosen charity this year. It’s a cause close to our hearts, as nearly everyone is touched by cancer at some stage in their lives, whether personally battling the disease or losing loved ones to the illness.”

Pauline Buglass, head of fundraising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: "We′re very grateful to all of the Northumbrian Water team for their fundraising efforts.

"It sounds like it will be a hard physical challenge and I hope the fantastic scenery provides a good distraction along the way. I wish everyone well and hope the weather is kind."

In light of the difficult economic climate, the team have set a modest fundraising target of £2,500. More than £800 has been raised so far, including a £250 boost from Northumbrian Water’s employee sponsorship fund, Cheque it Out.

The cyclists have been supported in their challenge by a local company, Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental Shiremoor, which is providing two support vans via Vehicle Lease & Services. Fuel for the trip will be provided by Acuma, a global provider of information management, application development and testing solutions, and the team has received sponsorship pledges from software companies Csols and StarApic.

Well wishers have until the end of August 2011 to make a donation via the team’s Just Giving page at

Since its launch in March 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised £3.3 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer. The charity funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria.

It most recently announced that it is working with Newcastle University and has purchased an ultra-compact cyclotron which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The cyclotron costs in excess of £500,000 and is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe.

For further information please contact Leanne Clough on 0191 301 6733.

County Durham

Name Job title Age Home town
Barry Clark Systems Analyst 41 Chester le Street
Chris Watson Systems Analyst 51 Durham
Dave Anderson PC Support Engineer 34 Chester-le-Street
Michael Gibbs Systems Analyst 44  Burnopfield
Steve Richardson Systems Analyst 38  Durham 
Steve Walton Systems Analyst 36  Durham 

Tyne & Wear

Name Job title Age Home town
Andy Longley Systems Analyst 42 South Shields
Bryan Jeffers IS Service Desk Analyst 32 Gateshead
Clive Surman-Wells Applications Team Leader 45 Sunderland
Craig Stanley Systems Analyst 39 Whitley Bay
Damian Robinson Asset Analyst 32 Houghton le Spring
Darran Faith Senior PC Engineer 32 Sunderland
Dave Hanby Telecommunications & Networks Engineer 56 Sunderlan
Dave Rogan Systems Analyst 44 Gateshead
Kevin Smith Telecomms & Network Team Leader 52 Whickham
Kevin Thompson Applications Team Leader 54 Sunderland
Khal Rafi Systems Analyst 49 Newcastle upon Tyne
Lee Gallon Applications Team Leader 41 Washington
Michael Coyne Problem Management Co-ordinator 40 Sunderland
Robert Clark Datacentre Technician 46 Sunderland


Name Job title Age Home town
Ana Nicholson Systems Analyst 44 Stocksfield
Tony Walsh Datacentre Technician 48 Cramlington

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