Booths supermarket chief set to replicate Tour de France with fundraising 600km cycle visit to all stores

Staff from a Lancashire supermarket chain are gearing up to take on a  mammoth 'Tour O Booths' challenge.
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Inspired by the Tour de France, chief operating officer Nigel Murray has got together a team of 45 people from shop workers to suppliers, who will ride 600km across the north of England, calling in at all 27 Booths shops, as well as three support sites and two cancer treatment centres.

They aim to complete the ride between May 24 and 28, raising money and awareness for the Cure Leukaemia charity.

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Nigel - a keen cyclist - became aware of the charity after hearing about patron Geoff Thomas, a former England footballer who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2003.

The Tour O Booths team from the last event in 2019The Tour O Booths team from the last event in 2019
The Tour O Booths team from the last event in 2019

He was initially given three months to live, but thanks to treatment from Cure Leukaemia’s Co-Founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE and a stem cell transplant from his sister Kay, he went into remission in 2004 and has since ridden the Tour de France route nine times.

Nigel has secured a place to also ride the Tour de France route later in the summer, and decided to utilise the Booths event to tie in with his training.

He said: "We first did the Tour O Booths a couple of years ago, and it was great fun.

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"The reason for doing it is threefold. It's an event to motivate you to keep active, it brings together different parts of the business from store workers to suppliers in a team-building exercise, and also supporting a specific charity.

Chief Operating Officer Nigel MurrayChief Operating Officer Nigel Murray
Chief Operating Officer Nigel Murray

"I was gripped by Geoff's story and the money is one thing, but the awareness raising is equally as important given the year we;ve just had, the focus has almost entirely been on Covid and many charities are struggling.

"We have to think again about supporting charities, because the work they do is so valuable."

Out of the team of 45, 10 people will be aiming to complete all of the route, with the others taking on different sections.

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Nigel said: "It's going to be a hard ride. We're in the north of England, so there will be a lot of hilly stuff. Three of the stores in particular will be a challenge for a cyclist because of their more remote locations, but we will also be riding across cities, so there's a challenge doing that too."

They will aim to cover 70 to 80 miles a day "at a social pace", with Nigel quipping "it is the only cycle ride where you actually put on weight" - with refreshments and treats lined up at each of the shops visited.

Staff members in the shops will also be encouraged to get involved in the fund and awareness raising, and customers can expect to see fancy dress and people riding static bikes in-store.

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