Cookes staff wave off colleague on charity cycle ride

A worker at a leading Sutton Coldfield retailer swapped his calculator for a bicycle when he took part in a major charity challenge.

Tom Bird, 26, who works in the accounts department at Cookes Furniture, is not only cycling 1100 miles from John O’ Groats to Land’s End but will also climb Britain’s three highest peaks along the way.

Tom, from Walmely, is joining former school friends and family to try to raise more than £6,000 for Acorns Hospice and has been training hard since the start of the year.

The team flew up to Scotland on June 21 before setting off from John O’Groats the next day. The 13-day challenge sees the cyclists travel around 100 miles each day before they reach Land’s End. On the way they will climb 1,344m Ben Nevis in Scotland, 978m Scafell Pike in England and 1,085m Snowdon in Wales. They are due to finish on July 4.

Tom, who has worked at Cookes Furniture for nine years, is taking on the challenge with brothers Philip and Andy Bostock, Robert and Alexander Gray and Russell Allen. They call themselves 1100and3 and have set up their own website in the hope people will support them.

Tom said: “I was a bit nervous but excited about the trip.  We climbed the three mountains last year so we decided to combine that with a journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End this year. We chose the Acorns Children’s Hospice because they are a local charity and they do a lot of good work.”

Tom started at Cookes as an apprentice just before his 18th birthday and was offered a permanent job just three months later and has been there ever since.

Vanessa Hoe, marketing director for Cookes, said: “We are all really proud of Tom. It is an amazing thing that he and his friends are taking on and we are all be rooting for them. We cannot wait to hear all their tales when they come back and are keeping our fingers-crossed that they hit the £6,000 target.”

Cookes has sponsored the challenge by providing a support van, with Tom’s dad Robert Bird providing back-up for the cyclists along with Thomas Bostock and his dad Steve Bostock.

So far the team has raised around £3,000 towards their target by staging various fundraisers including selling charity bracelets, bag packing at Marks & Spencer in Sutton Coldfield, a cycle challenge on fixed bikes and a charity race night and auction, which was supported by  local businesses.