Payroll Week Charity Bike Ride Challenge

The Tour De Payroll with MHR and Rainbows Children's Hospice

02/09/2019 - 06/09/2019

For National Payroll Week 2019, HR & payroll company MHR are teaming up with Rainbows Children's Hospice for a multi-day charity bike ride and mountain climb, to raise money for life-limited children and young people.

Helping Rainbows

Rainbows is the only hospice for children and young people in the East Midlands, and they are incredible at helping relieve symptoms, improving quality of life, providing end of life care and supporting parents as well as all the residents.

It’s hard to imagine a more worthwhile organisation to raise funds for than Rainbows and it’s based a few miles up the road from our Ruddington HQ. It’s great to support a local charity who look after people in the local area and give them the best care possible.

The Route Ahead

So, where are the team actually going?

We’ll be seeing a lot of England and Wales. First, there's over 250 miles of cycling to undergo, followed by over 12,000 feet of climbing to reach the summit of Snowdon.

We're doing all this to raise money for a great cause so the challenge is well worth it, and we're meeting our customers along the way to recognise the hard work payroll professionals do.

The map below is very rough and doesn't follow the exact route (scroll down to the route by clicking here).

Meet the team

  • Andrew Watson
  • Nick Armitage
  • Kirsty Witko
  • Chris Dutton
  • Dominic Bryce
  • Michael Widdowson
  • Jon Morgan
  • Philip Harrison


Team Donation Page

Andrew Watson (Watto) - CTO
14 years at MHR

How long have you worked for MHR?

Since March 2018 in my current role – prior to that I was at MHR for a 13 year period (IT Director/ CIO / CSO).

Why does this ride mean something to you?

Every year I try to do something that challenges me (in the past I have done triathlons, 30 mile runs over the black mountains, 10K swims and last year, a 78 mile walk along the Atlantic coastline.) This looked like an excellent challenge for 2019, with people that I wouldn’t normally get to do this kind of event with. Plus, the opportunity to be involved in raising funds for a fantastic local charity makes it well worth doing.

What's your favourite riding song?

Everybody Hurts by REM 😊 Although it will be whatever pops into my head – I pity anyone near me when it does because I can’t sing!! (but I will)

Nick Armitage - Head of Customer Relationship
4 Years at MHR

Why does this ride mean something to you?

To have the opportunity to promote national payroll week whilst supporting such a worthwhile cause, who would not jump at the opportunity? I think that having the opportunity to visit MHR customers and CIPP on the way round will not only provide a welcome rest but also allow MHR to engage in a unique (and very challenging) way.

What are the most miles you've ridden in one day?


What's your favourite riding song?

The Long and Winding Road – The Beatles

Kirsty Witko - Graphic Designer
1 year, 2 months at MHR

Why does this ride mean something to you?

I’ve always enjoyed cycling and have been cycling to work at MHR a few days a week since March. I’ve also always wanted to do a big challenge like this that will really push me. So when the opportunity to take part and help raise money for a great local charity like Rainbows I was really keen to get involved. I’m really looking forward to climbing Snowdon as it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

What’s going to be your favourite food on the bike?

Whenever I go on long rides at the weekend I’m mostly powered by cake - So I hope there are plenty of nice cafes with good cake along the way.

What's your favourite riding song?

Queen - Bicycle Race, obvs.

Chris Dutton - Test Lead
8 Years at MHR

Why does this ride mean something to you?

It’s a great opportunity for MHR to support a local charity, in this case Rainbows Hospice and raise the profile of Rainbows to hopefully generate more support for them. Looking forward to the personal challenge and riding with some great people.

What’s going to be your favourite food on the bike?

McDonalds! We must be riding past a few… Oh, and Jelly snakes.

What's your favourite riding song?

Station Approach by Elbow. Slow build up into a crescendo…holds a good pace throughout!

Dominic Bryce - Search Manager
2 years at MHR

What does your job involve?

Search engine marketing and looking after the websites.

Why does this ride mean something to you?

My mission for this year was to ride to Wales, when the opportunity arose to help organise this event for CIPP’s National Payroll Week, and to do it in the name of a great children’s charity (Rainbows), I jumped at the chance! It’s all getting a bit real now though, isn’t it?

What's your favourite riding song?

Gary Moore – Over the Hills and Far Away (we listen to this in the car every time my wife and I go to the Snowdonia mountains!)

Mike Widdowson - Software Test Manager for iTrent
20 years at MHR

So Mike, how long have you been working for MHR?

5 years in my current role, 16 years in Testing, over 20 years at MHR!

What are the most miles you’ve ridden in one day?

186 miles. A group ride to Skegness then a solo ride back home.

What’s your longest practice ride you have planned?

I'll be focusing on back to back training days. So 50-60 miles, then repeat the next day.

What's your favourite riding song?

If you need motivation, the Rocky soundtrack is surely all you need!

Jon Morgan - Oracle Systems Specialist (Cloud Services)
15 years at MHR

Why does this ride mean something to you? 

The Tour de Payroll is a great opportunity to raise money for Rainbows Hospice. I’m looking forward to riding in a team with colleagues from outside my department, and outside my comfort zone.

What’s going to be your favourite food on the bike?

Paleo bars and bananas.

What's your favourite riding song?

The Doors...Riders on the Storm, surely?

Philip Harrison - Software Engineer
22 Years at MHR

Why does this ride mean something to you?

I'm in another club that also raises money for Rainbows. They had a presentation by a member of the Rainbows staff at one of the monthly meetings and their dedication impressed me - it was a sobering moment. If I can make a difference by making the effort, it's worth doing. I've got quite a few pals on Facebook who seem to have loads of money…so we'll have some of that for Rainbows thank you very much!

What’s going to be your favourite food on the bike?

I guess bags of sultana scones would be my food of preference however jelly babies are a little more aerodynamic. My average output equates to twelve ‘JBs’ per hour when I'm riding – I find that to be optimal.

What's your favourite riding song?

‘One wheel on my wagon’ - a kids song from the TV in the 1960's - I also ride a unicycle and the song always makes me smile.

Lee Hammond - Team Principal
1 Year at MHR

Our Team Principal, Lee, was in serious training for the event before a major cycle accident left him injured.

It’s not like Team MHR to give up, so Lee used his determination to move from cycling to making sure the event goes smoothly this September.

Organiser, Driver, Bike Mechanic, Promotor, and owner of an almost full NHS loyalty card, Lee is the man behind this great charity event.

Lee had this to say:

‘’This event is a first for MHR and I’m really excited to lead the team into the first charity event of this scale at the business and I’m hoping to build on this year by year.

Right now though, it’s all about the bike ride! I’m preparing for every eventuality, getting our Tour bus loaded up with everything we need for the trip ahead and making sure people know how to contribute and where to follow the event!

My snack for the drive? Mostly coffee if I’m honest…’’

Here's our day by day guide to the route:

Day 1: Nottingham to Loughborough (Rainbows) to Solihull

Starting off at our Ruddington Hall headquarters, we’ll be heading to the nearby market-town of Loughborough, home to so many world-class athletes (once we get there!), but more importantly the home of Rainbows hospice. This will be an amazing opportunity to remind ourselves why we’re involved in such a huge challenge, and why it matters.

From there we will finish up our day in Solihull, voted ‘the best place to live’ in the UK. Let’s hope it’s the best place to sleep.

Donate Here

Day 2: Solihull (CIPP) to Mold

In the morning we'll be paying a visit to our good friends, and creators of the UK National Payroll Week at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).

After warming up our minds and bodies by rolling past Solihull’s many parks, we are going to dig deep for the longest stage of Le Tour de Payroll all the way to Mold in North Wales. Let’s hope the picturesque Welsh countryside is a good enough distraction from our burning muscles as we push our way through the country.

Day 3: Mold (Flintshire County Council) to Rhyl (Rhyl Fire Station) to Conwy

As we get motivated to keep pushing through Wales under the shadow of Mold Castle, we look forward to meeting some more of our customers.

Starting in Mold, we’re going to pop in for a cuppa at Flintshire Council, and meet some of their people to understand the organisation better.

Then it’s another tough day putting our collective lung capacities to the test, ending up with a group of people who are athletes for a living, day in, day out. Who do we mean?

The firefighters and the rest of the team at Rhyll Community Fire Station. This is another great location and we love the way the station includes a community centre to offer facilities to local residents, while raising awareness around fire safety and other issues.

Day 4: Conwy (Conwy County Council) through Snowdonia to Llanberis

Our final day begins by visiting our friends at Conwy County Council! Travelling via the stunning Nant Ffrancon Pass between Bethesda and Llyn Ogwen, we’ll have time to think about the money we’ve raised and how lucky we are to do something so worthwhile.

Even for regular cyclists this is a big challenge, but we are doing it to support young people in far tougher circumstances, so it’s all worth it.

Day 5: Snowdon

What better cooldown for a cross-country bike ride than climbing the biggest mountain in Wales?!

With a huge achievement and an unthinkable number of miles behind us, we can climb Mt. Snowdon, take in the view each time we stop at a higher point; and consider what more we can do to make difference in future.



If you would like more information regarding MHR attending this event please contact

For media enquiries please contact