Henderson directors complete Vietnam cycling challenge for charity

Henderson directors complete Vietnam cycling challenge for charity
Mark Stewart-Maunder and Cathal Geoghegan from Henderson Foodservice were part of a 43-strong group of UK wholesale and convenience retail leaders who took on a five day cycle across two provinces in Vietnam, helping to raise over £275,000 for the Mines Advisory Group charity.

Two directors from Henderson Foodservice, part of the Henderson Group, have completed a gruelling charity cycle alongside 43 other business leaders from across the UK and Ireland.

Cathal Geoghegan and Mark Stewart-Maunder successfully completed the Bikes Against Bombs Cycle Challenge in support of UK charity, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in April, a challenge that spanned across five days, 400 kilometres and two provinces in Vietnam.

The duo has so far raised £18,854.93 for the charity, with support from their Foodservice colleagues, friends and family.

All 43 cyclists were senior leaders from the UK’s Wholesale and Convenience Retail sector and have raised £275,965, exceeding their original £250,000 target.

The funding will support MAG’s life-saving work to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from current and former conflict zones around the world and return safe land to communities for agricultural and development purposes.

The Vietnam Cycle Challenge 2024 marks the ninth event of its kind. In that time, hundreds of people from across the sector have cycled across Vietnam and Cambodia (2015), Sri Lanka (2016), Laos (2018), Vietnam (2019), Cambodia (2020), UK cities (2021), Bosnia & Herzegovina (2022) and Thailand & Laos (2023), raising over £1.27 million for MAG.

Cathal Geoghegan, President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Henderson Foodservice Managing Director, and Mark Stewart-Maunder, Henderson Foodservice Commercial & Development Director said: “It was a real joy for us to join so many other riders in support of MAG’s amazing work. We were privileged to spend some time with their teams in Vietnam and see first-hand how their work is improving livelihoods and saving lives on a daily basis.

“The impact of their work is truly life-changing for so many people, not only in Vietnam but around the world. That gave us even more energy and motivation to successfully complete the bike ride, despite very difficult conditions!”

43 senior leaders from the UK wholesale and convenience retail sector took part in Bikes Against Bombs, the cycle challenge across Vietnam

Tom Fender and Neil Turton, prominent leaders in the Wholesale and Convenience Retail sector and co-founders of Bikes Against Bombs added: “We know that land contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance has a direct impact on agriculture and food production, which can lead to significant rises in food prices right here in the UK. It’s something we have seen in recent years with the war in Ukraine, for example.

“MAG’s work is needed now perhaps more than ever and, as an industry, we are keen to play our part in raising awareness and financial support for their life-saving programmes. We were delighted to see a record number of participants this year – further proof that the enthusiasm for this challenge, and the work it supports, is only growing.”

Darren Cormack, MAG’s Chief Executive Officer said: “This year marks 25 years since MAG started operations in Vietnam and while the last bomb was dropped on the country over five decades ago, unexploded ordnance remains a very real threat to communities. We are tremendously grateful to all 43 participants for highlighting this important work during the bike ride and raising funds for our projects around the world. To complete such a challenge takes time, discipline, and dedication. We do not take that commitment lightly.”

With this year’s challenge successfully completed, the focus is now on 2025, which will mark 10 years since the first event: “We have been going strong for nine years and every year we see the positive impact the bike ride has,” added Fender and Turton. “We are calling on more colleagues in our sector to join us and make next year’s bike ride the biggest yet!”