A team of JCB cyclists have crossed the finish line of a charity fundraising effort to ride 42,000km (the equivalent of cycling around the world) in 80 days – four days early.

The 42-strong group began the challenge last month to raise money for Hannah’s Hope charity, a fundraiser set up by JCB welding apprentice Hannah Roberts, 20, who was diagnosed with brain cancer just months after joining the company.

The aim was to complete the Around the World in 80 Days challenge tomorrow (Tuesday, April 30th) and Hannah’s 21st birthday. However, the team put so much pedal power into the initiative, that they finished four days early, completing the last 500km at JCB’s World HQ in Rocester, on Friday.

And there to join them in a sprint to the finish was 1500m Olympic gold medalist Lord Coe, who said this has been a tremendous effort by everyone involved and for such a wonderful cause. “It just shows what can be achieved through teamwork.”

Hannah was given just 15 months to live in September 2022 when she was diagnosed with glioblastoma. Although she has undergone surgery to remove the cancer, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, a trait of the condition means it keeps re-growing. With the support of JCB, her family has already reached a £250,000 fundraising target for treatment in the USA when she needs it.

Now, Hannah is aiming to raise £200,000 to buy and equip a luxury holiday lodge just five minutes from her home at Mercia Marina, in Willington, Derbyshire. The lodge will be offered free of charge to families of teenagers and young adults who are under the care of the Teenage Cancer Trust to spend time together.

Hannah Roberts pictured with Lord Coe and members of the JCB Around The World in 80 Days cycling team.

Hannah and mum Gail Iredale visited JCB HQ at Rocester to watch the conclusion of cycling challenge. JCB principal engineer Aaron Turner, event organiser and a founding member of the JCB cycling club was also three. “It’s been a tough challenge, and we are delighted to have completed it earlier than anticipated and give Hannah an earlier than expected 21st birthday,” said Mr Turner.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way, and most importantly, to everyone who has donated money to the appeal. It really will make a big difference to the lives of children and young people with cancer.”

Over the ten-week challenge the cyclists clocked up the miles with individual road rides and group outings, including a route to Mercia Marina, where Hannah’s lodge will be sited. The 80-day sponsored challenge was very much an international effort, with employees from many of JCB’s UK factories taking part as well as employees based in Pune, India. The total was also topped during spinning classes at the JCB HQ each Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

So far, the challenge has raised around £34,000 for Hannah’s Hope charity. Anyone wishing to sponsor the JCB cyclists can donate through the JCB Around the World in 80 Days JustGiving page:www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/JCBaroundworld80days

Main picture: Hannah Roberts (centre) pictured with Lord Coe (second from right), George Bamford (second from left) and members of the JCB Around The World in 80 Days cycling team.

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