Burhill Group Limited, owner and operator of 22 golf courses across 10 UK golf clubs, is celebrating the record-breaking fundraising achievements of one of its employees who has raised an incredible £50,000 for a mental health charity through a gruelling cycle challenge.
Connor Kelly, Food and Beverage Assistant at Burhill Golf Club in Surrey, set himself the task of following the first journey of the Orient Express, from Paris to Istanbul, first taken back in 1889. The mammoth ride saw him travel through eight different countries, covering a total of 3,780km on two wheels in just 55 days.
Throughout Connor’s fundraising effort, over 260 donors contributed, bringing the total amount raised to £45,000. In recognition of his efforts and the cause, BGL committed an additional £5,000, bringing the grand total to £50,000. His efforts represent the largest individual charitable contribution of any BGL staff member in the company’s history.
From the starting point at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, he headed east, enduring mountain passes, winding countryside and bustling cities as he travelled through France, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. Along the way he faced high altitude, snowstorms and driving rain, before eventually reaching the finish line at the famous Hagia Sofia Mosque in Istanbul.
Connor embarked on this incredible journey with the simple aim to raise as much money as possible for the Charlie Waller Trust. The Trust was set up in 1997 in memory of Charlie Waller, a young man who sadly took his own life while suffering from depression. It raises awareness of the illness as well as other mental health problems, and provides training to schools, colleges, universities, workplaces, GPs, and practice nurses.
Sharing his thoughts on the expedition, Connor said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to be involved with the Charlie Waller Trust and to promote such an important cause. It is imperative that mental health gets more sunlight, more candour, and more unashamed conversation. Whether an illness affects your heart, leg, or brain, it is an illness and there should be no distinction.
“The money raised will help the Trust to continue its incredible work in providing both education and a sanctuary for young people’s mental health. This motivation formed the bedrock of the challenge and kept me going the entire way, no matter the difficulty I faced.”
Speaking about Connor’s achievements, BGL CEO Colin Mayes said: “We are exceptionally proud of Connor. The amount of money he has raised for such a worthy cause is truly staggering, and we were delighted to be able to contribute towards the total amount. We always strive to take care of our people and will continue to support them and encourage them in all charitable pursuits.”
To donate to the Charlie Waller Trust, visit https://charliewaller.org.