After months of organisation and practice rides, our most hotly anticipated event of the year, the Tour de Branch, finally rode into town!
On Sunday 20th August, a team made up of 25 amateur cyclists, including staff members, family and friends, eagerly set off on their most punishing challenge yet, all in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service.
From our most Northerly office in Chester-Le-Street, the team cycled 41 miles, passing our Durham, Crook and Bishop Auckland branches, before finishing at our most southerly office, Darlington.
The ride got off to a slightly rocky start when one of our directors, Carl Jenkinson, found a nail in his tyre, but, with lots of team work and a very handy puncture repair kit, we finally got on our way at 7.15am.
Everyone was in great spirits throughout the ride and got to take in some of the most beautiful views and surroundings County Durham has to offer. After an exhausting but fantastic seven hours of pedalling, with a few little pits stops thrown in along the way, the team all gathered at the Queen Elizabeth College in Darlington to embark on the last leg of our journey together. The riders did, though, send event organisers Dan Stephenson and Matthew Laverick-Elliott to the front of the pack to cross the finish line first.
After the ride, Matthew said: "Considering this is the first year we've done the Tour de Branch, the day was a huge success.
“All the riders, the youngest aged 16 and the oldest aged 63, completed the entire route - a gruelling 41 miles. I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved - the riders themselves, our sponsors and all those who gave up their day to help out and raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, a wonderful local charity."
So far, Tour de Branch has raised a fantastic £1,272 with additional sponsorship forms still to be collected. We have set ourselves a target of £3,000 and will keep everyone updated on our progress via our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.
Anyone wishing to donate to this very special charity can do so by visiting our Just Giving page at