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On Tuesday morning Virgin Money welcomed ex-Royal Marine and Special Forces veteran Nigel Thomas to its Gosforth office.
Nigel made a pit-stop during his mammoth Land’s End to John o’ Groats cycle and even picked up a few Virgin Money colleagues to accompany him on part of his journey.
Nigel is riding a single-gear, 1940’s Butcher’s Bike 1,027 miles from Land’s End to John o’ Groats as part of his campaign to raise £ 1 million for four charities which support British soldiers – Team Army, Hire a Hero, Walk on Wales and the Ray Gravell Trust.
“I’m doing this for all the boys and girls in the Forces who need our help now”, Nigel says “A chance to play the sports that are so vital to their physical and mental well-being, to find a job after leaving the military or perhaps help recovering from injury or illness.”
Nigel was joined by the Hire a Hero assistant CEO, Mike Peckham, and two Virgin Money colleagues, Andy Reid-McGlinn and Phil Atkinson.
Virgin Money’s offices in Edinburgh will provide a further welcome pitstop as Nigel passes through today (Wednesday) 27 August. Virgin Money colleagues in Gosforth came to meet the Butcher’s Bike team and show their support for the challenge, including a number of ex-Army colleagues.
Nigel still suffers from various injuries he collected over the years, so the extremely basic Butcher’s Bike will certainly be a challenge. Nigel admits he is lucky to be able to walk having broken his neck playing rugby in Australia and, after many years in the Royal Marines and UK Special Forces, he knows a few things about survival.
“I’m just very practical.” he says. “Everyday life isn’t a walk in the park but I’ve learned that staying motivated, happy and healthy is essential. Life needn’t be a battlebut most of us need a helping hand from time to time.
The public is encouraged to turn up and support Nigel along his route which can be tracked via his website. Nigel’s goal is to raise as much money as possible for the four charities, you can support him by donating via his Virgin Money Giving page.