Staff at Unilever complete gruelling cycle challenge in memory of Mel

Staff at Unilever in Leatherhead have cycled 180 miles in tribute to a former employee who died of a rare form of head and neck cancer.

Mel Jaggard lost her battle to Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), a rare form of head and neck cancer, in August 2013.

Every year since 2014, employees at Unilever UK have cycled from Leatherhead to Mel’s home town in Gilwern, South Wales, to raise money for Get A-Head.

The Miles4Mel fundraiser was created in memory of Mel, who worked at the Leatherhead site from 2002 to 2013, and has since raised more than £300,000.

Rob Owen, who lives in Ashtead and completed this year’s two-day cycle on May 19 and 20, knew Mel well from her time at the company.

The 38-year-old, who is a customer director at Unilever UK and Ireland, said: “Mel was a passionate and a driven individual. She was completely committed to whatever she was doing and brought sharp wit and humour to any situation.

“Mel refused to let her illness define her. Even when she was unwell, she campaigned tirelessly to raise money for the Get A-Head charity. She had a very energetic presence and never felt sorry for herself.”

Mel, who lived in Esher, was known to be an active fundraiser herself and helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds to fund research into cancer.

Take a look at our video of some of the riders at the finish in Gilwern.