September 1, 2018
Leathers the Accountants has become a passionate champion of cycling, for both the health and fitness benefits it offers and the team building and fundraising dynamics, which have rewarded Leathers as a business, as well as good causes across the North East and beyond.
The firm’s strong association with cycling began in 2015, as a means to mark its 25th anniversary year, when founder and managing partner Michael Leather introduced his own love of the sport to the Leathers team. Joined by a number of the Leathers team at various stages, Michael went on to complete Le Loop – which, at over 2000 miles, is one of the most challenging cycling routes in the world. Usually tackled only by professional cyclists, Le Loop follows the exact route of the Tour de France one week ahead of the world-famous race.
The commitment to cycling from the firm is such that recently Michael, aged 56, completed Le Loop for a third time, and Leathers has been unveiled as a sponsor of Storey Racing, the cycling team established by Team GB’s all-time most successful female Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey. One of the team’s rising star cyclists, 19-year-old Anna Kay, has even become a Leathers employee, with the firm creating a role to allow her to juggle her demanding training schedule with developing new skills in marketing and admin.
Dame Sarah Storey has hailed Michael as “an inspiration” for the way he has used his love of cycling to vastly improve his health, scoring huge personal achievements in the process – such an approach to life is a key ethos of Storey Racing, whose mantra is #BestVersionOfYou.
As well as Michael’s Le Loop achievements, many of the other team members have also been involved at various stages – Barry James has taken part in stages of Le Loop three times, with Ryan Harrison, Neil Matthews, Chris Smith, Jonathan Carr and Jonathan Leather also completing stages of the epic challenge.
Other members of the Leathers team, including Zoe Lawson and Joe Black, have achieved success in other major cycling events, such as the London to Paris challenge and Ride London.
The firm’s love of cycling has enabled Leathers to raise significant sums of money for charities including St Oswald’s Hospice, the William Wates Memorial Fund, and the Wheels Project in Hebburn.
Michael Leather says: “Cycling has truly had a transformational effect on my life – I have lost four-stone in weight, dramatically improved my health, and have found it an enormous release from the demands of work. While tackling Le Loop and other events like Cape Epic are of course hugely challenging both physically and mentally, the positive effects are phenomenal and genuinely have to be experienced to be fully understood.
“Back in 2015, when I raised the idea of the team joining me in Le Loop, I think most of them either thought I was joking, or else I’d taken leave of my senses. But since then, cycling has become almost synonymous with Leathers as a business, and the commitment the team have shown either to cycling, or in supporting colleagues with their cycling, has been wonderful.
Unquestionably, we have become a stronger and tighter team a result, and that has played an integral role in growing the business as we have in recent years.
“The fact we have also raised many tens of thousands of pounds has been an extra benefit, and we’ve been delighted how our efforts on the bike have translated into such significant donations to charities.”
Anna Kay adds: “I am loving being part of the Leathers team. With my previous jobs I really struggled with work and my cycling, however I’ve found working at Leathers has given me that flexibility and time that I need to try and achieve my cycling ambitions whilst also working with a brilliant firm and gaining valuable working experience for my future.
“It has been lovely coming into work on a Monday to be greeted by the team asking how my cycling has gone. Leathers has a very supportive environment, whether that is with regard to cycling, work or anything else, and I am really pleased to have joined.”