A Burton roof tiles specialist is taking on a walking challenge with a difference in a bid to raise £5,000 for charity.
Forty members of staff from Burton-based Russell Roof Tiles' three factories, based in England and Scotland, are recreating their own version of the famous battle of Bannockburn, a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence – and this time the challenge is to race to a central point on Hadrian's Wall.
The wall was the north-west frontier of the Roman empire for nearly 300 years and runs for a total of 73 miles.
The challenge will see a team from the Burton site start at Wallsend to the east and a team from its Lockerbie site start at Bowness to the west. They will race each other across the length of Hadrian's Wall – in a bid to see who gets to the central point, The Twice Brewed Inn, first on October 6 and 7.
The aim is to raise much-needed cash for the two nominated Blood Bikes charities Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes and Dumfries and Galloway Blood Bikes. Last year staff at the company raised £24,000, enabling both blood bikes charities to buy two much-needed new motorbikes.
Both blood bikes services are volunteer-led charities which rely purely on donations to run their service, providing lifesaving medical supplies across NHS foundations with the transportation of vital blood products, organs for transplant and other life-critical supplies for the younger generation, such as premature babies.
Team captains for the Scottish team in Lockerbie are regional sales director Alan Young and operations director Bruce Laidlaw. Captains of the English team from Burton are area sales manager Michael Palmer and finance manager Gary Gough. None of the staff have walked Hadrian's Wall before.
Captain Michael Palmer said: "This is a real challenge for our team – we're not seasoned walkers but we're all training hard to make sure we're successful and raise as much money as possible for these great causes. Of course, we'll also be pleased if we're the winning side."
Over the past 18 months Russell's fund-raising activities have included a sponsored weight loss, twin peaks challenge, family fun day, charity dancing competition, football matches, a charity golf day and a version of "Superstars".
The Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire Blood Bikes is a 100 per cent volunteer-led charity which has been providing lifesaving deliveries of blood and other medical supplies to NHS foundations across the region.
The charity operates 24/7, relying solely on volunteers' fund-raising efforts and does not receive any government or local authority finance.
Chairman Jeremy Cartwright said: "We're delighted with the ongoing support from Russell Roof Tiles staff; their generosity allows us to improve crucial services for the health and wellbeing of the people of Staffordshire and Shropshire.”
Andrew Hayward, managing director at Russell Roof Tiles, said: "All of our staff have worked incredibly hard for the charities and we are delighted that so many volunteers have come forward to take part in this challenge. May the best team win."
Anyone wanting to donate to the cause can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rrt-hadrians-wall-challenge