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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Actuaries on wheels for charity bike ride

On Sunday 22 May a team of 119 energetic actuaries and friends, led by Adrian Waddingham, gathered in Southwark Park by Tower Bridge to take part in the Stroke Association’s 2011 Thames Bridges Bike Ride.

This was the second time the Worshipful Company of Actuaries had taken part in this annual event. The 33-mile route traversed 14 bridges as it crossed over the Thames from the busy streets of central London, along riverside paths and through tranquil parks — a relatively level route. However, once they set off they soon realised that cycling into strong headwinds was much worse than hills. The cyclists battled on, taking in landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Hampton Court, eventually arriving in Hurst Park for some well-earned congratulations and a delicious selection of drinks and nibbles.

Over 2,000 riders took part, with ‘Actuaries on Wheels’ being the largest group, sporting bibs in the colours of the Company of Actuaries emblazoned with their name, and thus raising the profile of the profession to the crowds on the riverside paths. One rider was even stopped and asked for pensions advice. Our friends in the north cycled the Manchester to Liverpool ride on the following Sunday.

In similarly blustery conditions, the 15-strong team set off from Manchester early in the morning, before following a route along the Manchester Ship Canal, and arriving in Liverpool to a strong sea wind and icy showers.

Once again, the wearing of bibs emblazoned with ‘Actuaries on Wheels’ helped to set the team apart from the crowd, and gave the announcer the chance to exclaim “Here comes another actuary” whenever one completed the ride.

The cycling events are proving to be great fun and it is hoped to organise them annually. Through the success of these events, significant amounts of cash is being raised for very worthwhile causes.

The majority of the money raised from the Thames Bridges Bike Ride will go to the British Stroke Association. Every year an estimated 150,000 people in the UK suffer a stroke, and almost a third are likely to die within the first 10 days. A third are likely to make a recovery within one month and the other third are likely to be left disabled and in need of rehabilitation.

The northern ride favours the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Children.

The remainder will go to The Company of Actuaries Charitable Trust (CACT). CACT currently donates over £100,000 per annum to various charitable causes, including actuarial educational bursaries and university prizes, and giving special notice to those actively supported by actuaries.

At present, CACT is committed to providing £300,000 to the Royal Society over five years to support a research project into mathematics education in the UK. Donations are still gratefully received.

For the London event you can donate at www.justgiving.com/BWLondonBridges For the Manchester event you can donate at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ActuariesOnWheels

We are hoping that more actuaries will find yet more ways to support the actuarial charity. Charles Cowling is leading an initiative to raise £1 million over five years and would welcome new fundraising ideas. Please share yours by emailing charles_cowling@jltgroup.com