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Exact time guessed by competition winner

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 03, 2013

Mark Smith receives his £150 Charity Cycle Relay competition prize from Leek United Customer Advisor Sue Sheldon at the Society’s Congleton Branch.

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CARPET fitter Mark Smith was quite literally floored when he won Leek United Building Society’s Charity Cycle Relay Challenge competition.

Mark guessed to the exact minute how long it took a team of staff to complete a gruelling, three-day 150-mile cycle ride in celebration of the Society's 150th Anniversary.

He beat hundreds of other society customers to take first prize – but was not aware that he had even entered the competition! Mark, aged 54, of Kidsgrove, said: "My wife Denise made the winning guess in my name at our local Leek United branch – then forgot to mention it to me.

"So when I had the telephone call telling me I'd won, I hadn't a clue what they were on about."

Mark's winning 'guesstimate' of 15 hours and three minutes was spot on, winning him £150 in High Street vouchers, which he and Denise plan to spend on a sat-nav for the family car.

Mark said: "It'll definitely come in useful for working out the time it takes Leek United to complete any future cycle relays."

The intrepid colleagues undertook the journey through Cheshire, Derbyshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, visiting each of the society's 12 branches en route in celebration of the society's 150th Anniversary.

Riding in the heatwave weather, staff beat scorching temperatures – and their own time schedule – to complete their gruelling charity cycle relay challenge, arriving at the finish line – Leek United's Derby Street branch office in Leek, Staffordshire – more than half an hour ahead of the predicted time of 15 hours and 35 minutes.

Customers had been invited to guess the actual riding time of the marathon journey, and the event raised £1,992.29 in aid of the dozen good causes/charities chosen to benefit from Leek United's fundraising during its 'milestone' year.

Liz Moss, Manager of Leek United's Ashbourne Branch, and co-ordinator of the event, said: "Despite a few chains falling off and an unforeseen road closure on the way to Derby on Day Two, everything else went to plan and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience."

The relay began on Wednesday, July 17 at the Society's Oakengates branch in Shropshire, and was divided into stages between Leek United's 12 branches across four counties, ending on Friday, July 19. A total of 14 staff from the society's Head Office and branches took part during the three-day stages, and hundreds of customers donated £1 each to the fundraising total to guess the eventual journey time, with many turning up to wait outside various branches to cheer on the riders.

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