Team Coolair celebrates at the finish line at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The 17-strong group, led by Neil Gibbard, regional director of Cannock-based Coolair Equipment, completed the daunting challenge of cycling 300 miles through Southeast Asia.
The six-day journey from Saigon in Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia was undertaken in aid of Challenge Cancer UK, which distributes funds across a range of cancer support functions, from research to respite care.
After 12 months of training on UK roads, Team Coolair faced cycling for up to eight hours a day along narrow paths and unmade cross-country tracks in stifling humidity.
Mr Gibbard, who led a similar charity ride two years ago and has since become a corporate ambassador for Challenge Cancer UK, organised the trip with the support of his company’s supplier and business partner, Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems.
Mr Gibbard said: “The team were all new to such a challenge and included biking novices, but everyone exceeded their physical and mental expectations - and their fundraising targets. Our many supporters and sponsors were tremendous in their encouragement and generosity.”
With a local guide and a support vehicle for their bags, the party of 16 men and one woman cycled around paddy fields and along twisting temple-lined tracks in the lush Mekong Delta in Vietnam, before traversing the dry lands of ancient Cambodia.
Laura Welsh, contracts coordinator for Coolair, said: “Having done a number of road runs – including the Manchester 10k – but only ever cycled on fixed bikes, I wanted to be challenged physically as well as raising money for such a worthy cause.
“It was an amazing experience cycling in the challenging terrain for up to 50 miles a day in the 40-degree heat, but it showed the value of team work as we encouraged each other on and, at one point, bunched together to protect ourselves from a strong headwind.”
Simon Seaton-Smith, director of Birmingham-based M&E consultants Couch Perry Wilkes, added: “The ride through jungles and on dirt tracks with basics for survival was the experience of a lifetime. It was also a complete shock to me but the organisational skills and meticulous itinerary prepared by Coolair and Mitsubishi ensured the risks concerned never felt overwhelming.”
Team Coolair comprised Martin Atkins of Skerritt Electrical; Rodney Clarke of Dodd Group; John Ensell of Mitsubishi Electric; Mark Garstang of Coolair; Neil Gibbard of Coolair; Scott Lydon of Clancy Consulting; David Massey of Core Group Projects; Paul Mawdsley of Coolair; Lee Moores of Coolair; Carl Morphew of BSE3d; Joseph Pavitt of Norman Disney & Young; Lee Rattenbury of Grummant Heating; Craig Scott of GDM Partnership; Simon Seaton-Smith of Couch Perry Wilkes; Ian Webster of Kosco Interiors; Laura Welsh of Coolair; and Carl Wood of AF Connell.