Around Britain. The Team Behind the Challenge.
As in any large business or brand there is often a ‘face’ of the organisation. Take Richard Branson or Bear Grylls for example. But although they are the ones in the limelight and seen as the role models you can guarantee that they wouldn’t be where they are without a dedicated and professional team behind them. From solo adventurers, to small business owners to chairs of huge corporations, all need to draw strength and support from the network that surrounds them.
Is was exactly the same with the Bonkers Brash Around Britain Challenge. From the very first concept through to the finish line and beyond there was a team of people, friends and new acquaintances alike who gave their support, help, knowledge, advice and above all time to help one man achieve his dream and raise a whole lot of money for a very important charity.
Maybe it was because good friends were cajoled into helping over many a late night bottle of wine or maybe people felt compelled by the boundless energy and enthusiasm displayed by Richard or maybe they simply saw an opportunity for them to have a little adventure of their own. Whatever it was, it is safe to say that without them the Challenge would never have got off the ground.
Richard had long been a supporter of The Pepper Foundation and the work that they do for sick children and their families. Indeed, a previous challenge from John O’Groats to Lands End had seen him raise money for them before. It was with some intrepidation that Richard met with their lead Fundraiser Diane Butler to talk about what he planned to do this time. Richard ignited something in Diane that morning and from then on there was no going back – Diane was hooked and determined to get the Challenge off the ground with the support of the Pepper Trustees. Thus began months of planning….so huge was the admin task behind the Challenge that Diane took on an intern, Nicola White specifically to help with the project. From route planning, logistics, safety, clothing, food, communication, publicity, the list was endless. And most importantly Diane secured the use of a motorhome courtesy of Just Go, the most crucial of all elements.
Next came the need of a Corporate Sponsor and up stepped long term business colleague and friend of Richard, Stephen Pike. Stephen is MD of The Marble and Granite Centre and UK distributor of Lapitec and it was this channel that Stephen was keen to promote. But again the importance of the team shows as along with Stephen came his Marketing Manager, Jess Danby and their PR lady, and coincidentally great Brash family friend, Anne Consedine of HP4PR. Jess and Anne both worked tirelessly helping with logistics, writing press releases, gaining publicity and producing fantastic videos!
The business network is so important in any business and it was proving the case here as well. The final segment of the ‘core’ team was fellow small business owner and friend of Richard, Richard Hillier, owner of Sublime Marketing. Although they had never actually worked together before both Richards were keen to do so and being a fellow mountain biker, keen photographer and general adventure enthusiast, Richard H volunteered to accompany the team on the first week of the Challenge. Richard helped in various aspects in the run up to the event and it was his input over the first week that was crucial to the success of the whole month. Not only was he ever optimistic but he also played a fundamental role in working out logistics whilst on the road, how to best complete the transitions between bike to kayak to running and swimming. Without this input it is doubtful the Challenge would have made it past Cornwall. Such was the success that Sublime and Brash have continued to work together in a formal business relationship.
Now the core team was in place we were simply in need of one last but vital element. A driver. Without that we weren’t going anywhere. We needed someone who was not only willing to drive a motorhome near on 200km a day but who could help with the numerous transitions, navigate, find suitable places to stop overnight, do shopping and cook food. Most importantly someone who was willing to take a month out of their life to help someone else achieve their dream. Imagine our elation when David Steadman, a retired local businessman and friend stepped up to do the first leg of the trip. Then imagine our complete horror when we read a facebook post from his wife Jackie stating that David had had a stroke and was in hospital. All thoughts of the Challenge left us for a while but thankfully David has made a great recovery.
Again the business network and word of mouth played a part. When we were beginning to despair one of David’s friends phoned Richard to introduce himself. Tony Denton, a fellow retired businessman and motorhome enthusiast declared himself fit, willing and ready to be driver for the entire month. Tony not only did all the jobs outlined above but also played a key role in working out how to attach kayaks, bikes and other equipment safely to the motorhome. It was an exhausting role!
The adventure inspired many close friends to become involved in the Challenge and Dave Roberts, Simon Cole, Mike Fairrie, Tim Mayes and Keith Tucker all used a few days of their own holiday and time away from their families to join Richard for several days at various points around the country. Their help, enthusiasm, energy and friendship made an incredibly difficult task a whole lot easier and motivated Richard to keep his legs turning. Many other friends and family popped up at various stages along the route to offer food, beds, encouragement and support. You will meet all of them as the blogs unfold over the coming weeks.
The importance of friends, the understanding and support of family regarding the amount of energy, effort, time and tears, setbacks and frustrations together with the network of support of fellow business people are all so crucial in every aspect of running a business, or setting off on a huge adventure. It is with their support and understanding that the elation and joy of success becomes a whole lot sweeter.
“Prepare well and wisely, and success will become inevitable rather than a matter of chance” – Bear Grylls.