Railway staff are celebrating after riding more than 600 miles in just 10 hours to raise awareness of Samaritans’ life-saving work.
Volunteers from five different train companies teamed up with British Transport Police colleagues at London’s St Pancras International on Thursday 14 May to take turns at pedalling on one of three static bikes. Passers-by stopped to cheer on the riders, who cycled for all they were worth for 30 minutes each.
East Midlands Trains Head of Operations Strategy, Darren Ward, came up with the idea of the challenge.
“Days like today show how the ‘railway family’, as I like to call it, is united in its support for the work that Samaritans does to help people, wherever they are from and whatever’s troubling them. More than forty colleagues have come together from all over the rail network to raise awareness of Samaritans’ round the clock service.
We set ourselves a target of riding 365 miles to mirror the number of days a year that Samaritans’ volunteers are there to listen, in confidence, to anyone who needs to talk. But, thanks to the phenomenal efforts of everyone involved, we’ve ridden a total of 613 miles, which is the equivalent of a week of the Tour de France, but in just one day!”
Rail staff, train travellers and friends and family of the riders also triumphed, raising valuable funds in sponsorship and donations.
Staff from Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, FirstGroup Great Western, London Midland, East Midlands Trains and the British Transport Police made up the bikathon volunteers. PC Adrian Young is more used to patrolling on foot than cycling, but he got in the saddle and gave the fundraising challenge a spin.
“British Transport Police is proud to support Samaritans. We’d encourage anyone who’s struggling to contact them. Their volunteers are ordinary people, there simply to listen, and not to judge.”
Network Rail Customer Service and Performance Advisor, Hayley Bull, says partnering with Samaritans creates opportunities for more people to reach out for support.
“Thousands of commuters and travellers use each of our stations every day. By helping to raise awareness of Samaritans’ services through events like these, people that may be vulnerable can see that there is help, and take steps to talk through their problems and find a way through.”
You can text SAMS15 £5 to 70070 to donate to this event and read more about Darren Ward’s fundraising for Samaritans here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/BonkersBikers