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UM colleagues on final fundraising push for Great Molasses Challenge

Posted on 7 June, 2024

Dozens of colleagues from across the UM Group have been doing their bit as our Great Molasses Challenge enters its final few days.

Colleagues have been running, walking, playing football, cycling and going on dog walks, all with the aim of adding miles to the final tally.

Every single contribution, big or small, gets us closer to our target distance of 7712km (4820 miles) which represents the distance of the first ever UM molasses shipment in 1912 from the Dominican Republic to Hull.

All money raised from the Challenge will go to Farm Africa, our chosen charity, which works tirelessly to reduce poverty by helping farmers in eastern Africa to grow more, sell more and sell for more. Thanks to the work of the charity and its supporters, rural families are growing their incomes while also protecting their local environment for future generations.

In the last few days, activities around the Group have included 14 colleagues from France Melasses in Arras, along with the visiting Simon Markham and Nigel Jones, either running 10km or walking 5km, while a further 10 colleagues ran either the 10km or 5km categories of the Battersea Park Run in London.

Louisa Brown, an administrator with UM Group, said: “The Battersea Park events were a great success and everyone had a lovely time. We had 8 runners from the Gracechurch Street office running the 5K and 2 Premier Molasses colleagues joined us to do the 10K.

“Farm Africa and supporters from the office joined in the fun and cheering on the runners throughout. A combined 60K between all 10 runners was a fabulous achievement.”

Commenting on the Arras visit, Nigel said: “This was another well supported event with colleagues either running or walking what was a lovely course close to the canal. It was a really enjoyable day and we received lots of positive comments from colleagues about the Challenge.”

A massive thank you is also due to Luc Vermeersch, Financial Manager at UM Tameco in our Belgium office.

Since the Challenge began at the end of April, Luc has amassed an impressive 328km on numerous walks in Spain, France and Belgium.

Luc said: “I’m President of the largest walking club in Bruges and all of my available free time goes into walking nationally and internationally. I was delighted to do my bit to support the Great Molasses Challenge and help to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.”

A further walk with Tameco colleagues is planned for this Saturday (June 8).

Thanks also to Conrad Martin, Operations and Quality Manager at Premier Molasses’ Ringaskiddy site in Cork. Since the Challenge got underway, Conrad has clocked up over 100km walking his dog Jazmin.

Special mention also goes to the growing UM Terminals 5-a-side football squad in Liverpool which has been counting its steps from the matches they have played.

Organiser Duncan Wilkinson, who came up with the idea with colleague Lewis Chambers, said: “The team is open to all parts of the UM Terminals team whether it’s terminal, office, or the maintenance team. It’s even open to anyone visiting from other parts of the business if they want a run out instead of being stuck in a hotel. We’ve also got family and friends involved.

“This was set up as part of the Great Molasses Challenge, but the plan is to keep it going as it gets everyone mixing socially outside of work hours with a bit of football followed by a drink afterwards.”

Finally this week, a big thank you to everyone who got involved in Simon Markham’s challenge to predict the total time that colleagues would take to complete the London and Edinburgh marathons and Bristol half marathon.

A total of £160 was raised towards the overall total with the winner being Duncan Wilkinson who predicted 18 hours 32 minutes, incredibly close to the actual combined time of 18 hours and 36 minutes. Bad luck to Emma Holding and Adam Pierce who narrowly missed out!

This Sunday, we have 13 runners taking part in our final event, the Hull 10K. Best of luck to everyone taking part and we will have a full report next week.

To donate to the Great Molasses Challenge please visit


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