Charity chiefs get on their bikes for poorly pets

26 June 2018

PDSA Directors cycling 100 miles each for 100 years

PDSA Directors are getting on their bikes to each cycle 100 miles in a single day to help fundraise as part of celebrations to mark our centenary.

Our four directors – Director General Jan McLoughlin; Director of Veterinary Services, Richard Hooker; Director of Human & Corporate Resources, Karen Hailes; and Director of Finance, Mike Pell; will be situated at different PDSA Pet Hospital or charity shop sites across the UK to complete the gruelling mission on Saturday, 14 July 2018.

The quartet are saddling up after being tasked with the cycle challenge by our staff earlier this year as part of our 100th birthday celebrations.

It was on 17 November 1917 that animal welfare pioneer, Maria Dickin, first set up a dispensary for sick animals of the poor in London’s East End. Over the following years its work spread in response to public demand and we now operate 48 Pet Hospitals across the UK, supported by a national chain of around 120 charity shops and a dedicated army of volunteers.

Jan, who will complete her 100 miles at Aston PDSA Pet Hospital in Birmingham, said herself and her fellow directors had begun training for the cycling challenge and were hoping to raise as much as possible for poorly pets.

She said: “I’ve completed several marathons and half-marathons in the past for PDSA but I’m really quite nervous about this challenge.

“We were set this task by staff, who have been doing a fantastic job completing their own personal challenges and events to help raise vital funds during our Centenary year.

“It’s getting a bit competitive now, with everyone keen to see who can do it in the quickest time.”

The cycling challenge will feature as part of special Open Days at each of the Pet Hospitals hosting the directors – Aston, Glasgow (Tollcross) and Bournemouth. Our Cheltenham charity shop will also host a director and a further event will also take place at our Bow Pet Hospital in London, which is the site closest in distance to the original PDSA clinic started in a basement in Whitechapel.

The Open Days will feature behind-the-scenes Pet Hospital tours for the public as well as fun activities and games for families and children, food and refreshments. People will also be able to cycle a mile on an exercise bike alongside the directors in return for a donation to the charity.

Reflecting on an astonishing 100 years since PDSA was formed, Jan added: “This charity was founded on the vision of one incredibly strong and determined woman: Maria Dickin. With few resources and precious little support, she set up our first dispensary amid the poverty and chaos of World War I.

“With an unswerving commitment to helping the most vulnerable animals – and their hard-pressed owners – Maria built upon these humble beginnings to spread the good work further afield, eventually creating a truly national charity.

“The world has changed beyond recognition since our inception, and we have had to change too, to ensure our work remains as effective and relevant as possible. But our core values remain the same as on day one. We are here to protect that most precious bond between owners and their beloved pets.”

Anyone wishing to support the cycling challenge can text SORE18 plus the amount (e.g. £5) to 70070.

PDSA Directors in their fundraising shirts sitting on the exercise bikes they'll use in their fundraising challenge

Pedalling for pets!

Find out more about our Directors cycling challenge and how you can sponsor them. 

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