On 14 September, a team of amateur and fun riders from BCA and the wider motor industry gathered at BCA Blackbushe, before embarking on a 400km ride to Paris with the goal of raising funds and awareness for Action for A-T, a charity that funds research into a rare childhood disease.
Forty-five riders took the BCA Paris Challenge in total, along with support crew and vehicles. The event aimed to raise £30,000 for the Haslemere-based charity, which funds medical research to speed up the process of identifying a cure for Ataxia Telangiectasia, a rare, genetic degenerative disease of childhood.
Three days later, the team stood in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower having more than tripled their initial goal by raising £93,436 for the charity!
Sponsors included Toyota and Renault from the manufacturing sector, as well as leasing companies ALD, LexAutolease and Olgivie and some of the biggest dealer groups in the country including Arnold Clark, Cambria, Vertu, Marshall Group, Motorline, Halliwell Jones, Jardine, Ancaster, JCT600, Lookers and TC Harrison. Insurers Aston Scott and Secure Valeting also backed the event, while Thrifty provided support vehicles for the duration of BCA Paris Challenge. Sponsors riding on the BCA Paris Challenge included representatives from Cambria, LeasePlan, BMW and Alphabet.
Craig Purvey, chief commercial officer at BCA was one of those taking part. He said: “We were all committed to completing the BCA Paris Challenge and had trained in advance to ensure we were prepared for this significant test of cycling endurance. It is testament to the team’s hard work and dedication that we arrived in good shape having ridden through everything from sunshine to thunder storms as we crossed the French countryside from Dieppe towards Paris.”
He added “Well done and thank you to everyone who undertook the BCA Paris Challenge, the riders and the support team, our suppliers and customers who sponsored our efforts and everyone for all their support and kind messages along the way.”
Sean Kelly, Chief Executive, Action for A-T commented “On behalf of Action for A-T and the families who look to us for hope, I would like to thank everyone who helped to make the Blackbushe to Paris ride such a resounding success. The three-day endurance cycle was a great team effort supported by BCA staff, customers and a variety of sponsors who collectively raised a record breaking amount for our charity. As a result, we will be able to fund an entire research study taking us one step closer to finding a cure or therapy for the devastating childhood condition known as A-T.”
Action for A-T has invested more than £1,700,000 in a variety of A-T related research projects around the world since it was established in 2012. A-T affects multiple systems of the human body, and health progressively deteriorates causing an overall loss of coordination and muscle control. Children are usually confined to a wheelchair by around the age of 10, have a limited life expectancy and are highly susceptible to cancer and lung disease.