Exceeding all expectations, the Vauxhall riders completed the epic journey from Tower Bridge to the Eiffel Tower in under 60 hours.
Vauxhall employees, battling through the adverse weather conditions of last weekend, used special bike sat navs donated by Mio to conquer the roads of South-East England and Northern France within 48 hours, before arriving in Paris just under the 60-hour mark.
This spirited achievement has made it possible for Help for Heroes to buy ex-serviceman Nathan Cumberland a state-of-the-art custom hand-bike, enabling him to keep fit and take part in the Help for Heroes sports recovery programme which helps injured servicemen and women gain confidence and independence.
Having completed three tours of Afghanistan with the Grenadier Guards, Brigade Recce Force and 3rd Parachute Regiment, Nathan was in the army for nine and a half years before being hit by an improvised explosive device, resulting in both his legs being amputated. Since his injury, Nathan has been supported by Help for Heroes – the charity’s recovery programmes helped him to walk down the aisle to marry his wife Rachael in just a year after the accident.
Delighted with his new hand-bike, Nathan said: “It’s an awesome bit of kit, absolutely top notch. Since undergoing operations, my weight has fluctuated so I wanted to get back onto the bike. I spoke to Help for Heroes who fused me together with Vauxhall. Thanks to the guys, I can now take on the sports recovery programme with something I really enjoy doing.”
The participating Vauxhall employees visited Help for Heroes’ newly-opened Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, to meet Nathan and check out the where the rest of their fundraised money will be going. The team were given an insight into all aspects of the charity, including their excellent adaptive sports facilities and the Vauxhall-sponsored family room, which is used to accommodate recovering soldiers alongside those who care for them most – their family and friends.
After seeing the charity’s invaluable work first-hand, employee Mick Aiers said: “The thing that sticks out at you the most about Help for Heroes is the positivity around the place. It’s comforting to know our troops have this level of support, both physically and emotionally, and our team should feel proud to be part of that.”
Recognising the challenge the Vauxhall team had overcome, Bryn Parry, Co-Founder and CEO of Help for Heroes said: “Our work depends entirely on the hard efforts put in by fundraisers like Vauxhall’s London to Paris team. We would like to say a big thank you to them for everything they have done to help Servicemen, women and veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses. What the Vauxhall team has done will change someone’s life, and that is something incredibly special.”
Vauxhall is in their third year of sponsoring Help for Heroes, and in addition to the £250,000 which they have fundraised, the car manufacturer also supplies them with a fleet of support vehicles to use free of charge.