Wheels across the water

22.06.2012

Two regions of the country – one with plentiful supplies of water and one challenged with - less - will be united by colleagues from a national water company operating in both areas to raise funds for people without any water overseas.

The Olympic sport of cycling is the mode of transport chosen to cover the 360 miles/579 km between the North East of England and Essex and Suffolk regions by employees of the Northumbrian Water Group.

A team of riders from the company will take on the challenge as a relay to complete the journey between Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex, via Suffolk to finish at the Northumbrian Water Group’s offices near Durham in under 24 hours.

Employees will ride through the night starting on Thursday 28 June peddling to finish on Friday 29 June 2012.

The company, which supplies water and waste water services to 2.7 million people on Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside and throughout the counties of Northumberland, Durham and the Tees Valley and drinking water to 1.8 million people in Essex and Suffolk, is raising funds for WaterAid – the adopted international charity of the water company.

Charlie Thackeray, production services manager based at Hanningfield has organised the cycle ride and said: “We have a range of employees from across the business and it is a real mixture of different personalities and skills.

“We have 21 riders taking part in the relay between Hanningfield Reservoir and Durham via our water treatment works at Lound in Suffolk and the idea is to visit as many different operating sites as possible,” he said.

“The cycle relay is to celebrate the diversity of our different operations in three very distinct areas,” he added.

“The ability to take raw water from the natural environment and put it through a treatment process to produce safe drinking water is something we take for granted here in the UK and having been to India myself, I now it is sadly a matter of life and death for millions of people in the developing world.” said Charlie.

Lee Edwards, technical support team leader based at Thornaby in the North East visited Zambia during February 2012 for WaterAid.

He said: “We visited the slums of Lusaka, where families drink from a stream that contained raw sewage and disease. I couldn’t describe well enough what I saw that day, and I can’t understand why they were doing this.

“But the choice, if it can be called that, is to die of thirst or to give their family water that may eventually kill them,” said Lee.

Team leader, Liz Scott, based at Hanningfield, went to Uganda with WaterAid in 2010 and said: “It was an incredible trip – I got to see the difference that WaterAid has made to real people’s lives.

“I came back so enthused and ready to do even more fundraising work,” she said.

Liz now has her pedalling boots on for the cycling relay from Essex and Suffolk to Northumberland.

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. Its mission is to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world’s poorest communities. WaterAid works with partners and influences decision-makers to maximise impact. www.wateraid.org.

• At least 4000 children die every day as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.

• 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world′s population.

• 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is almost two fifths of the world′s population.

• Just £15 can enable one person to access safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.

For further information please contact Oliver Rogers on 01268 664938.

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