Left to right: Lifeplus Europe's Alistair Beeden, Financial Controller; Antoine Kemmere, Key Accounts Manager; and Malcolm Vincent, Managing Director
It wasn’t just their enthusiasm for cycling that inspired Malcolm Vincent and Alistair Beeden to make the four day, 500km journey from St. Neots in the United Kingdom to Cologne, Germany. For them, as well as for Antoine Kemmere, who joined for the first day and a half of the trip, it was much more than that.
The three, who all work at Lifeplus Europe Ltd., decided to take to the road in order to raise funds for a Lifeplus Foundation initiative that benefits hungry school children in Mozambique.
“Between us we have 7 children and we wanted to give less fortunate children the opportunity for food, water, and education, so supporting The Lifeplus Foundation was a privilege” says Malcolm. “What The Lifeplus Foundation is doing is so worthwhile in my opinion that anything I can do to help is an absolute pleasure” adds Alistair.
Antoine and Alistair in the Netherlands
Being a well-seasoned cyclist, Malcolm was the pace setter through some challenging conditions such as heavy rain. “We were all rather soggy by the end of the first day” says Alistair. And although his phone broke as a result of the driving Dutch rain, Antoine admits that he “loved riding on the dikes of my native Holland with my two friends and colleagues.”
The stops along the way included Gouda in the Netherlands as well as the German city of Goch where the tired riders were embraced by Lifeplus friends and Foundation supporters. All three agree that these scheduled respites were the high points of the entire trip. “For somebody like me who normally works in the background in the accounts department, this was quite an eye opener” says Alistair, who was moved by the generosity of the people. “I was blown away by the enthusiasm and support” shares Antoine. “They came in the name of supporting us, but I think it was us who came away humbled by their efforts to make a difference to the lives of others.”
Antoine, Alistair and Malcolm, with support team Jeannette Lange and Anita Horvath
During both stopovers people gathered to listen to Malcolm who spoke about the work of The Lifeplus Foundation. In particular, he explained the focus on this year’s initiative with partner JAM International, which ensures a nutritious daily meal for children attending school in rural Mozambique. “Between the two stops, more than €3k was collected for the feeding program thanks to the dedication and kindness of the people we met there - brilliant.”, he says. In addition to the funds donated on the way to Cologne, the cycle tour received several individual and corporate sponsorships bringing the total to right at 10,000EUR.
Riding 120km on the last day was difficult but they finally approached the finish. Malcolm and Alistair rode into Cologne and were greeted by enthusiastic supporters-cheering and waving flags on the steps of the Kölner Dom, the magnificent medieval Cathedral in the heart of the city. The mission was complete!
Left to right: Jeanette, Alistair, Lifeplus Diamond Partner Andrea Moegling, Malcolm, and Chief Admin. Officer Rick Cesarski
In the days following, Alistair recalls a recent experience.
“A couple of weeks before the tour I was beginning to have doubts about whether I would be able to cope with the physical demands of such a long ride. Then I attended a fundraising event where my daughter was competing alongside other children and adults who had received major organ transplants. Watching their determination, despite their physical challenges, made me realize just how fortunate I am. I carried this thought with me throughout the ride and there was no way on earth that I wasn’t going to make it to Cologne!”
When heart meets action, anything can happen.
* 100% of all donations from this fundraiser directly benefit JAM’s in-school feeding program in rural Mozambique.