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Ben reveals full details of Industry Leader Challenge 2019 – the Epic Thames Waterbike Ride


● Three automotive leaders to raise £300k by cycling waterbikes on the River Thames from source to sea

● The trio will cycle 166 miles from Thames Head to Parliament to raise funds for Ben

● Cycling on water is name of the game to support automotive industry colleagues going through tough times


Three UK automotive industry leaders will be literally cycling on water, on the River Thames from source to sea, in Ben's Industry Leader Challenge 2019 – the Epic Thames Waterbike Ride. This is a significant feat of endurance as they tackle the epic 166-mile route, with a fundraising target of £300,000 for Ben to support automotive industry colleagues going through tough times.


This unique challenge has been taken on by Jon Wakefield, Volvo Car UK's Managing Director; Tim Tozer, CEO of Allianz Partners UK and Ireland, and Darren Guiver, Managing Director of Group 1 Automotive. Forget walking on water – these three will be cycling on water alongside boats and through a total of 45 locks.


The trio took on the baton for Industry Leader Challenge (ILC) 2019 from Andy Bruce, CEO of Lookers, whose 2018 challenge (Lookers 'Electric Charge') raised £215,755 for Ben. In the true competitive nature of the challenge, the aim is for the 2019 challengers to beat the previous year's fundraising total, which is no mean feat!


The Epic Thames Waterbike Ride requires serious pedal power, as the trio will cycle 166 miles on self-propelled Schiller waterbikes in just four days, from 4th to 7th July this year. This challenge, starting at Thames Head near Kemble, Gloucestershire, ending at the mouth of the North Sea, will be an incredible test of physical and mental endurance, as well as stamina, from start to finish.


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Jon Wakefield, Managing Director, Volvo Car UK, said: "The work Ben does to support those who need it across our hugely varied industry is invaluable, so I'm honoured to be joining Darren and Tim in the 2019 Industry Leader Challenge. Volvo is a company that cares about people, so while the prospect of riding a water bike for 166 miles fills me with no small amount of dread, the money we've challenged ourselves to raise will make the experience worthwhile."


Darren Guiver, Managing Director, Group 1 Automotive, said: "I am honoured and privileged to have been asked to represent Ben in the ILC initiative – such a worthy cause doing amazing work for industry colleagues across the country. I only hope that after nearly 170 miles in the saddle I can still smile."


Tim Tozer, CEO of Allianz Partners UK and Ireland, said: "This will be a demanding, fun and really physical challenge that I am thrilled to be involved with alongside my two industry colleagues. Supporting Ben is fantastic because it gives those working in our industry phenomenal support when it is needed most. We are determined to succeed in raising much-needed funds to help Ben continue its vital, compassionate work."


Matt Wigginton, Business Development Director at Ben, said: "We're beyond excited about this incredible challenge, and we're delighted that Jon Wakefield, Tim Tozer and Darren Guiver are fundraising for us in such an epic way. Cycling on water on one of the busiest rivers in England is certainly no mean feat!


"We really appreciate the support from all at Volvo Car UK, Allianz Partners UK and Ireland, and Group 1 Automotive so far. We wish our 2019 industry leader trio the best of luck and we're very much looking forward to following them on their journey upstream. Our services are funded entirely – and can only continue – through the generous support of the industry. Fundraising activities such as this are vital in ensuring that we can continue to provide life-changing support to industry colleagues."


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The Industry Leader Challenge (ILC) is an epic personal challenge taken on each year by an automotive industry leader (or leaders) to fundraise for Ben. The ILC is certainly not for the faint-hearted and requires extraordinary personal endeavour that tests the challenger either mentally or physically – or both. After completing a challenge of their choice (either with a team or alone), the challenger then hands the baton over to another industry leader for the following year.






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About Ben

Ben is an independent charity and dedicated partner to the automotive industry, providing support for life for its people and their family dependents. Ben is focused on delivering care and support to enable total health and wellbeing through working and later life.


Ben provides free and confidential advice and support focused on the main areas of people's health and wellbeing: financial, physical, mental and social, supporting people at whatever stage of life. Everyone who works, or has worked, in the automotive industry can access Ben's support.


Ben also operates continuing care and support for those in later life, which isn't dependent on an automotive industry connection, via its care centres as well as independent living for over 65s at its retirement village.


Press contacts:

Leila Moss-Kelly

Corporate Communications Manager, Ben


Direct dial: 01344 298 126


About Volvo Cars

Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world, with sales of 642,253 cars in 2018 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.


In 2017, Volvo Cars employed on average approximately 38,000 (30,400) full-time employees. Volvo Cars' head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars' head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company's main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), South Carolina (US), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China), and body components in Olofström (Sweden).


The UK is Volvo's fourth-largest global market, behind China, the US and Sweden. In 2018, Volvo Car UK achieved sales of more than 50,000 new cars in the UK – its highest total in 28 years.


Press contacts:

Ben Foulds

Media Relations Manager, Volvo Car UK

Tel: +44 7801 808577



Mike Gale

Head of Public Relations, Volvo Car UK

Tel: +44 7540 200404



About Allianz Partners

Allianz Partners is a world leader in B2B2C insurance and assistance, specialising in the areas of international health and life, automotive, assistance and travel insurance. Operating in more than 78 countries, Allianz Partners offers global solutions that are redefining help, going beyond traditional insurance to help and protect customers wherever they are and whenever they need it. Our innovative experts deliver future-ready, high-tech, high-touch products and services through four commercial brands: Allianz Assistance, Allianz Care, Allianz Automotive and Allianz Travel. Its 19,000 employees handle more than 54 million cases each year, motivated to go the extra mile to help and protect customers and employees around the world.


For more information, please visit:


Press contacts:

Justine Hoadley, Clare Watson or Lucy Wright


Tel: 020 8977 9132



About Group 1 Automotive

Houston-based Group 1 Automotive, Inc., an international, Fortune 500 automotive retailer, is a leading operator in the automotive retailing industry. Since its initial public offering in October 1997, Group 1 has grown to become the fourth-largest dealership group in the United States, and has expanded into the United Kingdom and Brazil. The company has achieved its success through a strategy that leverages management experience and emphasises geographic and brand diversity, interrelated revenue streams, operational efficiencies and the prudent deployment of capital.


As of 8 February, 2018, Group 1 owns and operates 181 automotive dealerships, 233 franchises, and 47 collision centres in the United States, United Kingdom and Brazil. Through its dealerships, the company sells new and used cars and light trucks; arranges related vehicle financing; sells service contracts; provides maintenance and repair services; and sells vehicle parts.


Press contacts:

Jamie Nash

Marketing Director

Mobile: 07984 018 912


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