A group of 18 cycling hoteliers have raised more than £22,000 following a 329-mile bike ride from London to Reims in France.
The challenge was organised by the Master Innholders to celebrate the Worshipful Company of Innholders' (WCI) 500th anniversary of the granting of its first Royal Charter from Henry VIII.
The event, which started from the Innholders Hall in London on 11 September at 6.30am, raised funds for the WCI Charitable Foundation. The cyclists made their way to Portsmouth to catch the overnight ferry to Caen, France. On the second day, they headed east to Beauvais where they stayed overnight and arrived in Reims, in the Champagne region on day three.
They were showered in Champagne courtesy of Taittinger before sitting down to a celebratory dinner.
Master Innholder Andrew Stembridge, managing director of Chewton Glen and Cliveden House, organised the event. He said: "It was wonderful to be part of this amazing adventure, which was conceived at Innholders' Hall exactly a year ago. With the moral support of the WCI, the financial support of Champagne Taittinger and seamless logistics of Cycle Tours UK, the trip was a great success on many levels, raising funds to contribute to the WCI's Quincentennial Fund.
"The 18-strong group was a lively and energetic collection of hoteliers, many of whom have benefited from the WCI's support in the past in the form of scholarships. With the odd wrong turn, 530 kilometres were covered in total, taking a suitably undulating route first to Portsmouth and then from Caen to Reims.
"Although each of the three days had its own particular challenges, day two stood out due to torrential and relentless rain throughout the day. A strong head wind and steep hills dominated the final day; however, any aches and ailments were soon forgotten as we were welcomed in style to Taittinger in a very civilised fashion.
"The team spirit throughout was outstanding and the grit and determination demonstrated by some of the less regular cyclists was impressive."
The cyclists taking part in the challenge included:
- Ivan Artolli, managing director, Verdura Golf and Spa Resort and RFH Group Operations
- Franck Arnold, general manager, the Balmoral
- Richard Ball, managing director, Calcot Manor
- Mark Calver, commercial director, Hatch Mansfield
- Nicholas Davies, hotel manager, Brown's hotel
- Will Downey, business account manager, Nestlé Professional
- Jorge Gertrudes, hotel director, the Pig
- James Hiley-Jones, operations director, Greenclose Hotels
- Erick Kervaon, general manager, the Bingham
- Matthew Long, general manager, Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa
- Andrew Ovey, healthcare, alternatives & special situations, AXA Real Estate
- Danny Pecorelli, managing director, Exclusive Hotels and Venues
- Jonathan Raggett, managing director, Red Carnation Hotels
- Oliver Raggett, general manager, Chesterfield Mayfair hotel
- Gareth Sefton, director, SeftonHornWinch
- Tom Simpson, consultant anaesthetist
- Kenneth Speirs, hotel director, Lime Wood
- Andrew Stembridge, managing director, Chewton Glen and Cliveden House
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