BaxterStorey chef Hayden Groves will be swapping the heat of the kitchen for the heat of Southern Europe later this year in a bid to raise £1m for Care Leukaemia.
The chef is hoping to get the support of the hospitality industry as he joins a team of 10 cyclists, including former England international and leukaemia survivor Geoff Thomas, in raising funds for a new facility at Birmingham’s Queen Mary’s Hospital.
“Following on from our Tour challenge in 2015, where we rode the whole Tour de France one day before the professionals and raised £1.4m, we are now looking to raise £1m for the haematology centre in Birmingham,” he told FEJ. “They have been given a government grant of £2.5m, but they are £1m short and they need to raise it this year to expand the clinic, so we are getting back on the bike!”
This time the group’s challenge is far more gruelling. As well as the Tour de France, they will ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Spain.
“The Giro starts in May in Sardinia and then we move onto the Tour de France in July, followed by the Tour of Spain, which takes place in August and finishes in September. We’ll be completing each one day before the professionals,” said Groves (pictured above raising money for Hospitality Action at the BRITA stand at the Great Hospitality Show).
Six of the group will be riding all three events and will cover 10,300km in total. They’ll be cycling an average of 100 miles a day while on the road. Guest slots are available for individuals and businesses that want to join them for any part of the challenge.
Groves described the prospect of taking on such a challenge as ”daunting”, but admits that as well as fundraising he’ll also be fulfilling a lifelong dream.
“Kicking a ball around at Wembley wasn’t my thing as a child, I always wanted to be a pro cyclist. Unfortunately I wasn’t good enough and a life at the stove beckoned! But now it’s a chance to put my legs to a good cause!”
The ‘Three Tours’ team have set up a Just Giving team for donations, which can be accessed HERE.