March 07, 2012 05:09 ET

Saddle-Up: HomeServe's 200km, GBP 50,000 Charity Cycle Challenge

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - March 7, 2012) - HomeServe is throwing down the gauntlet and challenging local cyclists to take part in an epic two-day, 200 kilometre Charity Cycle Challenge in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The Charity Cycle Challenge is HomeServe's biggest and most ambitious fund-raising event yet, looking to raise £25,000 as part of £1 million donation pledge.

Held across Thursday 17 and Friday 18 May 2012, a team of 100 riders, of all levels of ability, will ride from HomeServe's office in Fulwood, Preston, to the company's HQ in Walsall, taking in some of the North West's finest cycling, through the rolling countryside and picturesque villages of the Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire countryside.

Jonathan King, HomeServe CEO, himself a far from hardened rider, will be taking part in the challenge. He said: "Marie Curie Cancer Care has been our charity partner since November 2009 but this is our biggest fundraising challenge yet - in more ways than one. They say you never forget how to ride a bike - I'm hoping that's true.

"Two days travelling 200 kilometres on two wheels is a big ask, but it says a lot about the great work of Marie Curie, and our colleagues' determination to support them, that we've seen so many people sign up. There are a few places in our team still available and they're going fast. It doesn't matter if you're a HomeServe employee or not - we'd encourage anyone who fancies challenging themselves, and helping a great cause, to sign up."

Jonathan will also be presenting the King of the Road trophy to the entrant who raises the most sponsorship money. Riders are pledging to raise at least £500 each in sponsorship, with all the funds helping Marie Curie Nurses to provide more care, free of charge, to people with terminal illnesses in their own homes and in the charity's hospices.

With remaining places filling fast, the Challenge is open to both HomeServe employees and members of the public of all levels of fitness, aged 16-years-old or over.

Jonathan added: "It's a bit daunting to be riding so far, but I've no doubt that with the support of the company, the team and our volunteer support crew it's going to be a great experience."

Arun Sharma, Head of Corporate Fundraising at Marie Curie Cancer Care, said: "The response to HomeServe's Cycle Challenge has been fantastic and we're so pleased that so many people have signed up to show their support and raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The money the team is aiming to raise will make a considerable difference, helping Marie Curie Nurses to provide many more hours of free care to people with terminal illnesses in their own homes and in Marie Curie's hospices. We are extremely grateful for HomeServe's ongoing support and we wish the team the very best of luck."

HomeServe employee and avid cyclist Paul Allen will have cycled more than 2,000 miles raising over £8,000 for Marie Curie, including from London to Paris and Land's End to John O'Groats. Speaking about the Charity Cycle Challenge he said: "The more and more I've got in to cycling, the more I've wanted to push myself. But these events aren't just about the challenge. Over the last year, what Marie Curie Cancer Care do has sadly become more personal. When that happens, you want to do the best you can, not just for your own sense of achievement but to help others in need."

For a £25 registration fee, participants receive free transfers to and from the start and finish lines, mechanical support, luggage transfers, accommodation, meals and refreshments, as well as a cycle top and participation medal. Full details are available at: To register, participants should contact Sarah Palmer, HomeServe's National Charity Manager, via or by calling 01922 609 073.

Marie Curie Cancer Care is HomeServe's national charity partner, raising funds to provide free care to people with terminal cancer and other illnesses in their own homes and Marie Curie's hospices.

As part of its partnership with the charity, HomeServe has pledged to donate £1 million by March 2013, made up of £500,000 in cash and £500,000 of free home emergency cover for patients and their carers.

The company recently passed the halfway point, donating £250,000 in cash - enough to help pay for 12,500 hours of Marie Curie nursing care. This follows a busy programme of employee fundraising and business donations, and the sponsorship of Marie Curie's summer walking events, Walk Ten.

HomeServe has also provided more than £250,000 of free home emergency cover to Marie Curie patients, helping solve more than 400 emergencies since July 2010. More than 800 patients have signed up for the service, which offers free cover for call-outs, labour, parts and VAT for almost all home emergencies.

Notes to editors:

About HomeServe

Every minute a HomeServe engineer comes to the rescue of a British household.

With over 2,700 directly employed and sub-contracted engineers, HomeServe is a national emergency home repair service backed by a 24 hour claims handling and repair network.

HomeServe's new tradesmen service provides households with access vetted tradesmen who are qualified to carry out hundreds of different jobs around the home.

HomeServe tradesmen are guaranteed to turn up on time, to hold the necessary qualifications to do the job at hand, to provide a price before they start the job and will even guarantee their work for a 12 month period afterwards.

HomeServe also offers insurance cover for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating.

About Marie Curie Cancer Care

Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of the UK's largest charities. Employing more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, it provided care to more than 31,000 terminally ill patients in the community and in its nine hospices last year and is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.


Around 70 per cent of the charity's income comes from the generous support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and businesses, with the balance of our funds coming from the NHS.

Marie Curie Nurses

The charity is best known for its network of Marie Curie Nurses working in the community to provide end of life care, totally free for patients in their own homes.

The right to die in place of choice

Research shows around 65 per cent of people would like to die at home if they had a terminal illness, with a sizeable minority opting for hospice care. However, more than 50 per cent of cancer deaths still occur in hospital, the place people say they would least like to be. Since 2004 Marie Curie Cancer Care has been campaigning for more patients to be able to make the choice to be cared for and die in their place of choice.

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