Wickes Store Manager takes on Mission Impossible for Alzheimer’s Research UK

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By Philip Tubby | Tuesday 08 August 2017

A would-be secret agent from Wickes’ Chelmsford store took on a bold mission for Alzheimer’s Research UK when he travelled to Edinburgh and back in 24 hours – with no money to help him.

Store Manager Ron Beard dressed as James Bond for the challenge, raising more than £1,000 for pioneering dementia research as part of the home improvement retailer’s How Far Can You Go fundraiser. Ron’s 78-year-old mother also took to the skies for a daring Skydive, while colleagues at the store took part in a static bike contest to add to the overall fundraising total.

Colleagues across Wickes took part in the challenge between 21 and 28 July to raise money for the UK’s leading dementia research charity. Teams could rack up extra points for the creativity of their challenge, as well as the distance travelled, all competing to claim a spot on Wickes’ How Far Can You Go leaderboard. Overall the company raised more than £100,000 through the challenge.

Ron dressed to kill for his 800-mile round-trip on 21 July, donning a dinner jacket, tuxedo and bow tie, and completing the 007 look with a martini glass. Having set himself the challenge of travelling from London to Edinburgh and back with no money, Ron was able to find taxi drivers willing to take him part of the distance free of charge, and even managed to get a free train ride to complete the journey. On Saturday 22 July, colleagues in store wore fancy dress and cycled 297 miles on a static bike – the distance from Chelmsford to Paris – with many customers donating to the cause. And not to be outdone, Ron’s mother Marrianna Humphries, 78, also got involved in the challenge when she took part in a skydive on 27 July, plummeting several thousand feet to add to the distance.

The group’s efforts raised more than £1,100 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which funds pioneering research into dementia and the diseases that cause it. Wickes has been partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK since last summer and the company has so far raised more than £550,000 for the charity.

Ron said:

“I hoped my Bond challenge would capture people’s imaginations and it certainly created a bit of a buzz – I spoke to lots of people along the way who wanted to contribute when they found out what I was doing and why. Some taxi drivers not only offered a free lift, they also donated to help get the fundraising total up. I thought this would be an ambitious challenge but the support we’ve seen has been tremendous. Everyone in the store did a fantastic job and my mum was incredibly brave to take on a skydive!

“I’m very fortunate to have family who are in good health, but as I spoke to people on my journey it became clear just how many people had been touched by dementia. It’s a devastating illness, and it’s really important that people who are in a position to help should try to, so I’m delighted that we’ve managed to raise so much for this important cause.”

Kate Moss, Corporate Partnerships Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“What an incredible fundraiser! Ron and the team have really gone the extra mile for Alzheimer’s Research UK and we couldn’t be more grateful to them. We’re so impressed by their efforts, which will make a real difference to the fightback against dementia. There are currently 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, with this number set to rise to one million by 2025, but research has the power to defeat the condition. It’s thanks to companies like Wickes that we can continue to fund the pioneering research that will lead us to a life-changing treatment.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s Research UK’s work, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org


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Philip Tubby