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Virgin Trains Carlisle employee gears up for charity bike ride with a chain of fundraising events

L-R: Hannah Davis, Ellie Slack, Iain Robinson, Cath Broughton, Chris Irving, Vicky Nicholson and Chris Muirhead

[A] Virgin Trains employee at Carlisle is gearing up to take part in his first ever cycling challenge halfway across the world, whilst raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Iain Robinson, 29, who is a Virgin Trains Station Announcer, will take to his bike in March 2018 for Ride India – a 450km cycling challenge through Rajasthan, known as Land of the Kings – to raise money for Railway Children and Virgin Trains’ charity partner, Rethink Mental Illness.

Along with three other representatives from Virgin Trains on the west coast, Iain will pedal 450km (nearly 300 miles) over six days, tackling a variety of terrains across India. The cycling challenge will involve cycling to Jaipur – pedalling through the sights and sounds of the towns and villages of Rajasthan between five and nine hours each day, whilst taking in the Taj Mahal and a tiger sanctuary.

A cycling enthusiast, Iain is already on track to cycle over 5,000 miles this year – nearly the same distance from Carlisle to India’s capital, Delhi. But despite cycling most days and clocking up around 100 miles each week on his bike, this is the first time Iain has ever taken part in a cycling event for charity.

To reach the fundraising target of £3,000, the Virgin Trains team at Carlisle have rallied around to create a calendar of fundraising activities at the station in the lead up to Christmas, including a car wash, bake sales and cheering on Iain who is cycling 600 miles (twice the distance he is expected to cycle in India) on a stationary bike at several stations along the West Coast Main Line. Iain and the team at Carlisle are planning more fundraising events before he goes to India next year.

During his time in India, Iain will see first-hand how Railway Children have helped save children in India from a life on the streets – he will meet the children who are benefitting from the money raised and see how the charity’s ‘Child Friendly Stations’ project is making the railways safer for children forced to live in dangerous environments.

In the New Year Iain is looking to arrange a bike ride with Virgin Trains colleagues on the west coast in preparation for his trip to India and to raise further money for the two charities.

Iain, who lives in Currock with his partner and two children, said: “I’m really excited to be taking to two wheels in India, as part of this great cycling challenge. I’m proud to represent Virgin Trains at Ride India to raise money for Railway Children and Virgin Trains’ charity partner, Rethink Mental Illness, whilst doing something I love. At Virgin Trains we care about the local communities we serve and here in Carlisle my colleagues have been a great support in helping me to raise hundreds of pounds for charity, whilst giving something back to the local community. I’d like to thank the people of Carlisle who have supported me so far in my fundraising efforts and I look forward to continuing to raise money for two great causes.”

Lisa Fraser-Ashton, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Rethink Mental Illness, said: “We are delighted that Virgin Trains continue to put mental health centre stage across the business by raising awareness, as well as vital funds to help those affected by mental illness. We wish Iain and his colleagues the very best on their cycling trip to India and would like to thank them for choosing Rethink Mental Illness as one of their beneficiaries.”

Railway Children’s Events Manager, Katie Mason, said: “The Ride India challenge is going to be a great adventure and we’re delighted that Iain will be joining us for what promises to be the trip of a lifetime. His fundraising efforts have been brilliant and every penny he raises for us will help in our fight for street children in India, as well as Africa and here in the UK. We have been lucky enough to have had huge support from Virgin Trains over many years and we can’t thank Iain and his colleagues enough for their continued generosity.”

To support Iain and help raise money for Railway Children and Rethink Mental Illness, visit: https://www.sponsorme.co.uk/iainrobinson/ride-india.aspx

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