Trading air traffic for pedal power in gruelling bike ride

GEARING UP From left: Sean Jones, Katharine Jones, Kevin Tanner, Gavin Walker, Paul Morgan, Sarah Hooker, Dave Harder and Oli McCelnaghan.
GEARING UP From left: Sean Jones, Katharine Jones, Kevin Tanner, Gavin Walker, Paul Morgan, Sarah Hooker, Dave Harder and Oli McCelnaghan.
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THEY work for the leading provider of air traffic control, but a group of NATS employees will be keeping their eyes firmly on the road when they take part in a charity bike ride.

A team of 12 staff members from the Information Solutions department will be swapping life at the office to pedal 500 miles in just five days.

They will cycle from their base in Swanwick, Hampshire, to the Prestwick Centre, Ayrshire, with the aim to raise £6,000 for their charities.

The British Heart Foundation, Ayrshire Hospice and the Fareham Food Bank will receive £2,000 each.

The inexperienced cyclists will begin on July 31 and will be assisted by a team of four helpers.

Gavin Walker, Chief Information Officer at NATS, will be one of the staff members participating in this event.

He said: ‘Each year we’re always keen to give back to our local community and this is going to be our biggest challenge yet by far.

‘We’re determined to complete the gruelling bike ride to support these charities and hope the money we raise can contribute to their worthy causes.’

The NATS team will be taking to social media to record their journey, posting on Facebook and Twitter.

They have previously participated in challenges such as a sponsored rowing challenge, bake sales, the Great South Run and Tough Mudder, a 10 to 12-mile mud run designed by the British Special Forces.

Overall, NATS have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for a number of charities through a variety of fundraising efforts.

Through the Footprint Fund (which 
is the NATS Corporate Responsibility Fund), established in 2008, NATS has donated almost £200,000 to more than 300 charities.

Last year alone, the Footprint Fund donated £31,000 to 53 local causes.

Eight per cent of the NATS staff made ‘Give As You Earn’ donations using the company payroll giving scheme, donating £133,500 to their charities.