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CooperBurnett came together to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research for the London to Paris in 24 hours challenge.

Five team members from CooperBurnett - Victoria Sampson, Joseph Oates, John Spence, Katie Hilsdon and Gareth Warner – have successfully cycled from London to Paris in just 24 hours, raising more than £15,000 for Brain Tumour Research. The challenge, which took place over the bank holiday weekend, was made all the more difficult due to the weather – which was unseasonably cold for May, with almost constant rain and wind, as well as hailstorms and sleet. 

The team – which was part of the 120-strong London to Paris 24 hour Sportive - arrived at the Eiffel Tower on Sunday 5 May to a hero’s welcome, having set off from Blackheath the previous afternoon. 

In all, they cycled a massive 300km, with the first stretch being 95km from London to Newhaven. After dinner, the team caught the overnight ferry to Dieppe, on which they tried to grab some much-needed sleep (not to any avail though!). Starting before dawn on Sunday morning in the driving rain and hail, they completed the remaining 205km into the French capital through incredible countryside and up some ‘epic’ hills. 

CooperBurnett came together to raise money for the charity Brain Tumour Research in memory of Associate Solicitor Katie Hilsdon’s cousin, Oli Hilsdon, who died in January from an aggressive and incurable brain tumour (a glioblastoma multiforme) aged just 26.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of our team,” says Victoria Sampson, Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial Services at CooperBurnett. “None of us were experienced cyclists – I hadn’t ridden a bicycle for 30 years until six months ago – and although we trained really hard, we could not have anticipated the dreadful weather conditions. When times were tough, we all thought about Oli and his determination. It was his memory that ultimately kept us all going.”

When the CooperBurnett team was first planning this challenge, they were raising funds for a treatment Oli’s consultant recommended for him, which was not available on the NHS. As he so sadly died during this time, the decision was made to continue fundraising for Brain Tumour Research – a charity Oli himself had supported. 

Tim Green, senior community fundraising manager in the South East, says: “We are very grateful for the support of Katie and her colleagues at CooperBurnett and congratulate them in raising more than £15,000 in their cycling challenge. Oli’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at Research Centres of Excellence in the UK; it also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia.

“I am so grateful to my colleagues for agreeing to take up this challenge for Brain Tumour Research,” says Associate Solicitor, Katie Hilsdon. “This was such a personal journey for me but it was amazing to have the enormous support of my colleagues – both those cycling with me and those in the office too. I’m sure Oli would have been really proud of us all!”

CooperBurnett is matching every pound raised for Brain Tumour Research and there’s still time to donate:

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May 9, 2019
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