A quadruple heart bypass operation survivor is to lead T K Maxx store staff on a 100-mile charity cycle ride.
Charlie Esfandiarina, a prison officer at Shrewsbury Gaol, will do the ride to raise money for the fund in aid of Cancer Research UK at the store in Shrewsbury’s bustling Darwin Centre.
His partner, Vanessa Morgan, is a shop assistant at the store and she and other members of staff will join him for sections of the route.
TK Maxx Store Manager Elena D’Alesio said: “As a store we want to raise as much as possible and we are delighted Vanessa’s partner, Charlie, is doing a sponsored cycle ride of 100 miles in a day to raise even more funds for Cancer research UK.”
Charlie, who came to the UK from his native Iran in the early 70s, says he enjoys cycling and thought it would be a good way to boost the amount of cash raised by the Darwin Centre store.
He added: “I took up cycling after my quadruple heart by-pass about eight years ago. I used to play a lot of rugby but I’m getting too old for that I am afraid! I enjoy cycling as I find running a bit hard on the knees and other joints.
“When Vanessa told me about the fund-raising the store was doing I thought a sponsored ride would be a good way to raise some extra cash. I will be joined by several members of the store’s staff who will be joining me for parts of the ride.
“I’ve worked out a circular 100 mile route taking in Montgomery, Bishop’s Castle, Craven Arms, Much Wenlock and Uffington before returning to Shrewsbury. I think it will take me around 10 hours including a rest break or two.
“It is certainly worth it to raise funds for a very important charity. I’ll be starting nice and early on Thursday, April 26. Anyone who wants to sponsor me can do so at the TK Maxx shop in the Darwin Centre.”
It is just one of a number of fund-raising efforts by staff at the store this month for Cancer Research UK including having a special donations cage installed on the shop floor in the Darwin Centre.
T K Maxx staff are handing out collection bags for customers to fill with unwanted clothes and bric-a-brac items that can be stored in the cage and later sold through Cancer Research UK charity shops with each bag raising an average of £30.
Elena D’Alesio added that TK Maxx had raised £10 million for Cancer Research UK since 2004 with £6 million being used specifically to fund research into beating cancer in children.
She said: “This year, as a company, we want to raise a further £2.5 million to help even more children survive cancer.
“We will be raising money in store by giving out charity bags which we hope our customers will fill with clothes, books, CDs, DVDs and bric-a-brac, in fact anything unbreakable.
“Across the company our target is 80,000 bags from customers and with each bag on average raising £30 that’s a huge amount of money.”
Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “It’s a tremendous effort by Charlie to pitch in like this to help the charity.
“Staff at T K Maxx and so many of the stores at the centres raise so much money every year for charity that it really shows just how seriously they take their roles as very much part of the local community.”