Riders For Health Co-Founder Wins Women Of Year

MOTORESSAndrea Coleman, co-founder and CEO of Official MotoGP Charity Riders for Health, named winner of the Women of the Year award. Barclays is proud to be a long standing supporter of the Women of the Year and celebrate the achievements of extraordinary women – both the well-known and the many unsung heroes – from across all sectors of business and society.

Andrea Coleman is half of the founding and driving force behind the favoured motorcycle charity’ Riders for Health. She was presented with award at lunch with 400 other women who Barclays recognise as a ‘Woman of the Year’ due to their achievements and contribution to society.

Andrea co-founded the Riders for Health charity in 1990 with her second husband Barry Coleman; with inspiration from racer Randy Mamola with whom she worked and experienced the problems faced in delivering health care in Africa. The idea to form the charity came after the pair became involved in supporting various charities working in rural African communities. It became obvious to them that people were not receiving the health care they required, as the vehicles the health workers needed to reach them had often broken down due to lack of maintenance, often as a result of ignorance.  As a result they devised a strategy to not only raise funds to purchase motorcycles that could deal with the often harsh terrain, but also devised programmes to train local health workers to ride safely and maintain the motorcycles, so they could carry out their jobs properly and deliver healthcare to those in need.

“Riders for Health has improved access to regular health care for millions of people across Africa,” Baroness Kennedy QC commented. “Through sheer hard work and determination, she has translated her life-long passion as a motorcyclist into a successful award-winning programme in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Andrea is a keen motorcyclist and comes from a motorcycling family and raced herself. She was first married to Irish star Tom Herron, tragically killed on the 1979 North West 200.?The charity has the Princes Royal as Patron and numbers of former racers on its Board of Trustees.
One of the major fund raising activities for the charity takes place in the UK each year when the Moto GP arrives in the UK for the British Grand Prix. The ‘Day of Champions’ allows fans access to the paddock and GP riders who donate many items for their chosen charity.

As a result of their generosity this year, not mention the fans who attended, an incredible £216,249 was raised for the charity, £77,090 coming directly from the auction. The biggest individual price for a lot in the auction was a Bridgestone race tyre, signed by every rider in MotoGP, which raised £4600.

“I cannot describe how it feels to be named one of the ‘Women of the Year”, Coleman said delightedly. “Women living in isolated, rural Africa are trapped by ill health, poverty and distance. They can never even dream that what they do will ever be seen, let alone recognised. I am lucky. I have had that opportunity”, she adds.

Riders for Health employs 400 people and operates 1,700 vehicles in seven African countries, transforming health care for 14 million people. Mobilised health care workers can reach six times as many people as those on foot. Funding comes from events like Silverstone’s Day of Champions, the Gates Foundation and other major institutions.

The 2013 Women of the Year Lunch is sponsored by Barclays, Good Housekeeping, Sacla’ and ITV’s Lorraine.

*source, Riders For Health press release

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