RBC Virtual Ride for the Kids raises over £60,000 for SportsAid

Published October 6, 2020 | 3 min read

Seventy-four participants, including Olympians and Paralympians, took to their bikes and covered 5,700+ miles collectively to raise funds for the next generation of Britain’s sporting stars and contributing significantly to SportsAid’s SportsAid Week #MyMiles Challenge. Cyclists had the choice of completing one of three distances - 57 miles, 77 miles or 100 miles – in their local area on a day of their choice between 25 and 27 September. The team, largely made up of RBC employees, raised over £60,000 for SportsAid through their efforts.

This year’s Ride was initially set to take place from London to Lille in June but was abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Refusing to be beaten, the event was rearranged to a one-day UK ride to start and finish at Bisham Abbey in September, with an eye-catching route through the beautiful Chilterns. However, in light of recent government announcements, these plans were once again rethought, and a decision was made to go virtual with cyclists able to develop their own routes locally and meet up in groups of a maximum of six people.

The team, which included Olympic heroes Amy Williams, Mark Hunter, Sarah Winckless and Steve Backley, alongside Paralympic superstars Naomi Riches and Danny Crates, battled gusting winds riding in various locations across the south of England such as Kent, Surrey and Buckinghamshire. SportsAid ambassador Ama Agbeze, captain of England’s gold medal winning netball team at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, rode from Auckland to Cambridge in New Zealand, due to not being able to travel home.

“The cancellation and postponement of the majority of challenge events this year has had a significant impact on charity income. It was important for Royal Bank of Canada to find a way to hold our annual RBC Ride for the Kids event so that we could continue to support SportsAid during such a challenging time. While we could only ride in teams of six, to ensure we remained Covid-safe, the build-up, fundraising and participation has been a great opportunity for colleagues to re-connect in a really positive and meaningful way.” said Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Europe.

“Despite the move from an in-person event to a virtual one, including the absence of any support crew on the day, all 74 riders completed their target distance and continued to go above and beyond with their fundraising for SportsAid. The fantastic support of our Riders this year really shows their commitment to helping their communities. I am very proud of the whole team in making the 2020 RBC Ride for the Kids a real success!”

This was the third consecutive year that RBC Ride for the Kids has raised money for SportsAid. The first ride in 2018 saw a team of 47, all of mixed abilities, complete a two-day cycle of 184 miles from London to Bruges. The following year ran with a bolstered team of 57, including 40 employees new to the event, taking on the 205 mile journey to Brussels. Over 25,000 miles have now been covered across the three rides to show their support for the next generation.

Over the last seven years, RBC has generated more than £700,000 for SportsAid through corporate donations and staff fundraising. On an annual basis, RBC provides financial support, mentoring through its buddy program and personal development opportunities to 50 talented young athletes through SportsAid. The partnership sees the athletes, who stretch across 31 sporting disciplines this year, receive an annual award of £1,000 to contribute towards costs such as travel, accommodation and equipment.

RBC has enjoyed a number of success stories since the partnership began including double Paralympic champion Georgie Hermitage, sprinter Reuben Arthur, who won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and England international footballer Lauren Hemp. The money raised through the Ride is specifically used to run workshops for athletes and parents so they can receive expert advice on areas such as performance lifestyle management, the media and nutrition. Last year’s funds enabled SportsAid to develop an online program of workshop sessions for SportsAid athletes during lockdown.

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