Cycling to Champagne


In just two days, a team of riders will start a gruelling journey: cycling 325 miles, over four days, from London to Champagne. The team, made up of our colleagues and producers, will be headed by our Chair Lizzy Rudd – and is aiming to raise £325,000 for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation as a result, to help fund vital research into a cure for MND.

We weren’t sure how many people would sign up for a charity cycle from London to Champagne. But when we first put the idea to everyone at Berry Bros. & Rudd, we had so many people volunteer in the first two weeks that we had to stop taking applications.

In our 325 years of history, this is our biggest fundraising effort yet: cycling for four days, covering 325 miles, to raise £325,000 for the fight against MND.

I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) five years ago.

MND is one of the cruellest diseases you can think of. It’s degenerative, it’s paralysing and it’s terminal. Your muscles waste away and will never build up again, your intact mind is trapped in a failing body. Life expectancy from diagnosis is just two years.

It affects one in 300 people. The number of people living with MND isn’t low because it’s rare – it’s low because life expectancy is so short. Because of that, awareness also isn’t as high as it should be.

There’s currently no cure, but that doesn’t have to be the case. MND is not an incurable condition, it’s just underfunded. Charities like My Name’5 Doddie – named after my friend, the late, great Doddie Weir OBE – are doing a huge amount to help fund crucial research.

In the UK alone we have multiple research streams on the brink of a breakthrough. That’s why we took on this challenge – to raise money for the research that they’re doing, to help support those with MND, and to find a cure.

It’s been a real source of pride to see so many people get involved in this. We have the cyclists, the team on the 325-mile cycle. Among them are colleagues from across the business, as well as some of our producers, and some of our customers. Many of them have never attempted a cycle this long or this difficult.

Behind them, there are so many others who have supported with fundraising events, encouraging the team through the training, and spread the story of the ride to their own friends and family.

It’s an immense challenge. 325 miles across two countries – that’s a huge undertaking. There’ll be tears. But the amount we’ll be able to raise, and the awareness we’ll spread as a result, is invaluable. Every single pedal we push, every penny we raise, every bit of media coverage that teaches someone about MND – that all brings us closer to finding meaningful treatments, and a cure.

You can find out more about the ride, and donate, via our JustGiving page here.