Sunderland workmates’ charity ride in memory of colleague

Staff at Grundfos Pumps, Ferryboat Lane, Sunderland, taking part in a bike ride in memory of a colleague Neil Robinson for The British Heart Foundation, on Sunday. Pictured l-r are Niels Bolding
Staff at Grundfos Pumps, Ferryboat Lane, Sunderland, taking part in a bike ride in memory of a colleague Neil Robinson for The British Heart Foundation, on Sunday. Pictured l-r are Niels Bolding
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GRUNDFOS staff proved they have pedal power when they cycled 25 miles in memory of a colleague.

The 58 workers took part in the bike ride from the factory in Ferryboat Lane, North Hylton, to South Shields in honour of Neil Robinson, 57, of Washington, who died two months ago of a heart attack.

The Grundfos team and their families, who completed the ride on Sunday, raised about £1,500 for the British Heart Foundation, as well as the company’s chosen charities Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s UK.

Production supervisor at the factory, Michael McKenzie, said the workers were keen to do something in Neil’s name.

“When we organised the bike ride someone suggested that we give some money to the British Heart Foundation,” he said.

“We thought it was a good idea because of what had happened to him.

“Neil is a miss around the factory.

“He sort of kept himself to himself, but it’s definitely noticeable that he’s not about the place.”

The bike ride was the first the staff have taken part in, but Michael said it was a success.

“It was really good,” he said. “Everyone said what a fantastic day it was. People’s families got involved – some people brought their dads for Father’s Day, and some brought their kids along.

“Two women who have never ridden a bike for years borrowed a tandem and rode that there and back – they struggled but they did it.”

Cyclists were sponsored £1 per mile by the company to take part in the marathon ride, which was also part of a health and wellbeing initiative Grundfos is running.

Staff have previously completed a weight loss programme and lost more than 18 stone between them.

“The NHS came in and weighed everyone every week,” said Michael.

“The weight management course was a success, so we thought the next step was to get everyone involved in physical exercise. The programme has been running for about 12 months now and it’s been really successful. It’s educating the staff on how to take care of themselves as well as benefiting charities.”