Boss endures hailstorms and high winds as he cycles in memory of his mother

Graham Denny in his cycling gear outside Denny Bros

Denny Bros boss Graham Denny preparing for his cycling challenge - Credit: Denny Bros

A company boss has taken on a 500-mile cycling challenge in memory of his late mother – just a month after putting the business into an employee trust.

Denny Bros managing director Graham Denny has already raised £800 after taking on the Diabetes UK Wide Cycle Ride.

The virtual fundraising challenge will see him ride the equivalent of the 500-mile North West coastal route.

It follows the death of his mother, Winnifred, during lockdown in February 2021 aged 94. In March 2021, Graham and his uncle and group chairman Barry Denny announced that they would be taking the diverse Bury St Edmunds-based labelling and engineering business into employee ownership

The Dennys said the plan to create an Employee Ownership Trust for the £8.3m turnover family firm – which employs 100 staff and celebrated its 75th anniversary last year – would give certainty to its workers and enable them to share in the success of the business, which is best known for its Fix-A-Form booklet labels. Graham and Barry, the son of co-founder Douglas, will retain a minority shareholding.

Traditional options such as selling the business did not appeal to the owners, who were worried the business would lose its independence.

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Succession was “possibly the toughest responsibility for all business owners to deal with”, said Graham.

The company boss has been cycling an average of 17 miles every day throughout April in order to reach his fundraising goal.

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“The lockdown has meant a pretty miserable year for everyone and my mother, Winnifred (Win), passed away in February,” he explained.

“So I wanted to take part in a challenge in her memory – as she enjoyed a cycle ride in the countryside when she was younger – and one that would also give me a positive focus.

“I know one or two people who suffer from diabetes and know how the illness can affect everyday lives as well as the risks to long term health and so I was glad to try and help such a good cause.”

Graham is currently on track to complete the total virtual route and thanked everyone who has sponsored him so far.

“The distance is well beyond what I could achieve in a traditional event and it is nice to have the flexibility of the whole month, though of course you miss the general atmosphere of a normal cycle challenge,” he said.

“The weather was a little unkind at the start of the month and I even rode one night with hailstorms and 20mph winds. But it has improved this week which makes it more pleasant.”
To sponsor Graham, visit here


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