L to R - Coun Nick McDonald, chair of NMB Paul Southby and Neil Whitney of Gleeds

THREE intrepid cyclists from Nottingham are set to saddle up and ride to Cannes, raising £9,000 for charity – while travelling to the global property event MIPIM held in the south of France.

Councillor Nick McDonald – portfolio holder for jobs and growth at Nottingham City Council, Paul Southby – chair of Nottingham Means Business (NMB), the business-led organisation with representation across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, and Neil Whitney from management and construction consultancy firm Gleeds will be all taking part in the 1,500 km ride for the second time.

They will be cycling as Team Nottingham, which is seeking to generate inward investment for the city on the international stage at MIPIM. A number of high profile property schemes in Nottingham have resulted from Nottingham’s presence there in previous years.

The cyclists will join around 80 others from the UK’s property scene to ride the London to Cannes route, setting off on 5 March and arriving at the town on 10 March – that’s six days of cycling through a mix of hilly terrain and rough weather.

On three of those days, the cyclists will be pedalling for around 200 miles a day – more than the professionals ride on most days in the Tour de France.

Paul, Nick and Neil will cross the finishing line outside the Palais de Festivals, Cannes Tuesday 10 March – when they will be greeted by Team Nottingham members who are attending the MIPIM property event.

Each rider will be raising money for the charities chosen by Cycle To, a fundraising charity generating donations through a variety of cycle events. Its main beneficiary is the charity for vulnerable children and young people Coram, which receives two thirds of money raised.

On 3 March at Antenna, the cyclists will be hosting a special charity fundraiser where for £10 tickets, people can enjoy an evening of live music. Called Allez! Allez! It will be a fundraiser for charity and a way to say ‘au revoir’ to Nottingham.

Coun McDonald, who is a partner at law firm Nelsons, said: “Last year was like a baptism of fire. I’d never done it before and it was a gruelling test of strength. This year, I have started training a little earlier and I hope to improve in last year’s performance. This ride is a big challenge but one which will raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.”

There are real business benefits of doing the ride, said Coun McDonald. Cycle to Cannes gives the trio the opportunity to spend a few days rubbing shoulders with top property professionals. In the past, the ride has specifically led to increased interest and site visits to investment and development opportunities in Nottingham.

Paul Southby, chair of NMB and partner at law firm Geldards, said: “This is my second ride also and I am going to try and complete the full ride, and that is my challenge. It has been difficult to train as much as I would have liked but I am doing as much training as I can fit in. I am pleased that I have my two great team mates from Nottingham to join me.”

Gleeds representative Neil Whitney said. “It’s a real privilege to be participating in Cycle to Cannes again this year, especially for such a worthy cause. Giving back to local communities and those less fortunate than ourselves is a really important part of doing business, and it’s great to see that commitment profiled at an international event like MIPIM.”

Coram is the UK’s oldest children’s charity which helps vulnerable young people cross the East Midlands.

The riders will be tweeting and blogging their progress on their way to Cannes.
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Follow the team’s progress on @teamnottingham, Cllr Nick McDonald: @Nik_McD, Neil Whitney: @gleedstv; Paul Southby: @pdsouthby