It’s a long way Daddy !

What have I always said about saying yes to every opportunity ?


Well this one presented itself via Twitter. Geoff Thomas – ex Crystal Palace captain and England football international, Cancer survivor turned charity ambassador and campaigner. Geoff, or just GT as he is now known in our house, was planning to ride the 2015 Tour de France route one day in advance of the pro peloton. Having already completed this epic challenge once before in 2005, however this time his tweet was to recruit 20 like minded riders to raise in excess of £1m for Cure Leukaemia. This was huge, it dominated my thoughts, how could I be part of it?

No stranger to a charity challenge, I have ridden to Paris for Hospitality Action, ran around the serpentine and up 28 storeys to the top of Hilton Park Lane and boxed 3 rounds at the RAC club both for Galvins chance, but this was on an epic level.

I picked this up on the 29th October, asked for a follow back on the 30th, exchanged mobile numbers and spoke to Geoff on 1st November. In truth I hadn’t slept easy since the 29th, desperate to talk to him to see how I could sign up. What followed was an inspiring 20 minute telephone conversation.

Naturally I needed to ask permission from Tracie and the girls, but also from a work perspective, 3 weeks out of the business on a sabbatical was not a given even for an amazing charity campaign. Two week holiday was the longest absence I had been away from work since I left school 24 years ago, but if you don’t ask the answer will always be no!


The first call was to Alastair Storey our inspirational Chairman (voted the most powerful and influential figure in the industry 2012, knocking a certain chef Oliver off the top spot). He confirmed with some authority what you and I already know that I’m a little crazy, but then and there he said yes I could get involved and offered his personal and professional support, a gesture that I will never ever forget. I have worked for BaxterStorey since March 2012 and Alastair has been extremely supportive through this time especially during my National Chef of the Year endeavours.

Each rider has a 50k sponsorship target for a huge and important cause. My plan is to leverage as much support as I can from industry contacts that I have built up over the years and more importantly since my win last year, offering businesses opportunities to tap into my intellectual property for a charitable donation.

Two hours after the first call to Geoff, I called again ‘I’m in’! ‘Wow you were serious’ came the response.


Tracie returned from work and I was making the family dinner, ‘I spoke to Geoff again, green light…’ I said, tears welled up in her and my eyes, ‘that’s incredible’ was the response. She knew what a challenge this was and how much it would mean to me to be part of the team, life changing ! As per my mantra, ‘If your dreams and challenges don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough’

I hadn’t ridden much since May 2013 when Alan Murchison and I took on a wee 448 mile 2 day ride from London to Edinburgh, link-  

The reason being the National chef of the year win back in 2013 had presented more diary commitments and was all consuming together with a busy day job. I hadn’t even updated this, my personal blog, as my spare time was busy writing pieces for Borough Market, GBchefs and the Staff Canteen. It would be good to have a challenge outside the world of food to focus on again.

That evening we sat down as a family and we watched the official tour 2015 route clip and I told the girls about the challenge  ‘It’s a long way Daddy!’ ‘Yes It sure is’ was my response!

~ by theboxterboy on December 7, 2014.

2 Responses to “It’s a long way Daddy !”

  1. […] It’s a long way Daddy !. […]

  2. […] turn to my initial conversations with Geoff in November last year, have I done enough training since, am I ready, will I ever be ready ? It’s now or […]

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