Pedal Power: Team of 47 Unilever employees cycle to raise more than £50,000

Posted by Anne-Marie on June 3, 2014

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After tragically losing Mel Jaggard, a much-loved colleague, to a rare form of head and neck cancer (Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma  – ACC) last year, a 47-strong team of Unilever employees donned their lycra and helmets two weeks ago to embark on a 180 mile cycle ride from Leatherhead to Mel’s hometown of Gilwern in South Wales.

The Unilever crew – all of which are based at the company’s UK head office in Leatherhead, Surrey – set off on the two day trip on Friday 16 May, accompanied by Mel’s father and husband, in an effort to raise £50,000 for Get A Head (www.getahead.org.uk) – a charitable trust dedicated to fighting head and neck cancer. Just one week after their epic cycling event, the team has already smashed its target, reaching £54,000 so far. The original £50,000 target represents 20% of Get A Head’s average annual funding and, with more donations still coming in, the team now hopes to reach £60,000 – enough money to provide two thirds of the funding for three years’ research into ACC.

The cycling challenge saw the peloton traversing the English and Welsh countryside on long, winding, hilly roads, totting up 80 miles on the first day, and 100 miles the second day, with a total ascent of 1800m – the equivalent of climbing Mont Ventoux, one of the most famous climbs in the Tour de France.

Colleague and friend Richard Marriott said: “Mel was an inspiration to us all at Unilever; she never let her cancer get in the way of living her life and continued to work in a demanding job as well as raising two beautiful young twins – Thomas and Amelie – with her husband Charlie.

“With her friends and family she was an active fundraiser for Get A Head and helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds to fund research into Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma to help give hope to all sufferers of this rare form of cancer.

“As a team we wanted to do something which encapsulated Mel’s fighting spirit and competitive edge as well as her sense of fun and I’m sure Mel would have laughed at the sight of nearly 50 of her colleagues cycling around the Welsh countryside dressed top to toe in lycra! This epic challenge was a fantastic way to remember Mel and raise lots of money in the process. ”

An extended team of Unilever colleagues has also already raised £6,000 for the charity when 180 men and women cycled a combined 2,000 miles from the comfort of their Leatherhead office atrium in October 2013, two months after Mel passed away.

To sponsor the team, go to www.justgiving.com/teams/MoreMiles4Mel.