Intrepid traveller Sharon McLaughlin may work in the energy sector but she aims to draw on her very own energy conserves as she pedals her way across South East Asia in the name of charity.
Sharon, 47, an Engagement Director with Solihull-based Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills), heads off to Vietnam on Thursday (Nov 3) for a gruelling 400km sponsored cycling adventure across the Mekong Delta into Cambodia.
Sharon, from Leamington Spa, is undertaking the Acorns Cycle Challenge in aid of the Acorns Children's Hospice charity which cares for life-limited children and their families at Selly Oak in Birmingham.
Sharon aims to raise at least £2,000 from her expedition and is already more than halfway to that target thanks to her generous friends and colleagues. She admits a fascination with South East Asia, coupled with a desire to raise money for such a worthy cause, has been her inspiration.
The trip will take the cyclists across rugged terrain in searing heat and humidity but also promises to give them unrivalled access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Sharon said: "I have always loved a challenge and while I have done a few in the past, I have to admit this will be my first cycling adventure for more than 20 years!
"The trip is off-road and involves going through jungles in a humidity of around 90 per cent but I am looking forward to the scenery such as the rice-paddies and ancient temples of Ankor Wat. I am less enamoured about meeting spiders and snakes however!"
Sharon recently visited the Acorns Hospice in Selly Oak for inspiration for her trip and admits she was amazed by the facility and its staff and patients.
"I expected it to be a difficult place to visit but it was wonderful and it was also clear that the hospice relies on fundraising from the public.
"It has really inspired me with my challenge and I will need that inspiration during my endless days in the saddle!"
Tim Balcon, Chief Executive at EU Skills and Sharon's boss, said: "We are incredibly proud of Sharon and wish her well on her adventure.
"She typifies the staff we have here who are always looking to benefit others. What has been great is that so many of Sharon's colleagues have not only dug deep to support her but have also undertaken challenges and activities of their own such as half-marathons, coffee mornings and cheese tasting to help her in her fundraising."
To sponsor Sharon or make a donation please visit: www.justgiving.co.uk/sharon-mclaughlin
NOTE TO EDITORS
Tim Balcon, Chief Executive of Energy &Utility Skills with Engagement Director Sharon McLaughlin who sets off this week on a 400kn cycle challenge across South East Asia in aid of the Acorns' Hospice.
Staff at Energy & Utility Skills host a dress down day and tea and cake sale to support colleague Sharon McLaughlin on her South East Asian cycling charity adventure from L-R top row: David Minchin, Laura Gilbert, Andrea Allison, Chief Executive Tim Balcon. L-R - bottom row: Susie Thomas, Beth Amphlett, Sharon McLaughin, Sara Ford.
About Energy & Utility Skills
Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the gas, power, waste management and water industries, licensed by Government and working under the guidance of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). Employer-led, our purpose is to ensure that our industries have the skills they need now and in the future.
The energy and utilities sector is fundamental to the success of the UK economy and is crucial to the way modern society functions. It is critical to facilitate an adequate supply of competent people to develop, maintain and enhance the sector.
A skilled workforce is vital for meeting the challenges of an increasingly competitive global economy and particularly during this tough economic climate, where skills are the key lever for successful competition.
EU Skills commitment is to raise employer engagement, demand and investment in skills, to ensure that we have authoritative labour market information for all of our industries and to develop National Occupational Standards (NOS) to ensure that qualifications meet employer needs.
EU Skills is part of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, comprising 25 licensed UK SSCs. Employer-driven, together these SSCs articulate the voice of the employers of around 90% of the UKs workforce on skills issues
For further information about EU Skills please visit www.euskills.co.uk.
Acorns Children's Hospice provides care and support for children and young people who have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and support for all the family. It costs £750 a day for each child's care.
For further information or media opportunities including images or an interview with Sharon please contact:
Lisa Smith, Prepared PR:
0121 218 9159