A team of amateur cyclists has completed a 160-mile coast to coast challenge in support of a disabled colleague, who is hoping to access technology to be able to walk again.

Members of staff from North East-based Henderson Insurance Brokers (HIBL), as well as friends of the firm, took part in the challenge from Whitehaven to Sunderland.

The team’s appeal has raised £43,632 for Emily Storer, an employee of HIBL, who was involved in a serious car accident five years ago that left her paralysed from the chest down, with further donations taking the total to in excess of £50,000.

Emily is hoping to secure £65,000 for a ‘ReWalk exoskeleton’ – a robotic device that will allow her to stand and walk again.

Joe Henderson, Group CEO of HIBL, HIBL directors Jonathan Willett and Michael Wright, Chris Halmshaw, a client of HIBL, and Rob Worrell, a friend of Mr Henderson’s, took on the challenge.

Emily Storer said: “I am very grateful to Joe and the team for their efforts, which has meant a great to me and my ambition to benefit from a ReWalk exoskeleton. They have all done a fantastic job in completing the challenge and I am overwhelmed by the very generous donations made by the entire HIBL family and wider communities.

“Words can’t describe how I feel about the kind donations and funds raised towards my appeal, which will afford me the chance to walk and stand again. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me since my accident, and I hope the guys enjoy a well-earned rest!.”

HIBL operates throughout the UK and has three offices in the North East, in Newcastle, Stockton and Sunderland.

Joe Henderson, Group CEO, said: “It was a very challenging and demanding ride, but one that was worth it in the end, as we have raised significant funds for an excellent cause. Emily has shown great character and a positive attitude throughout, and the ReWalk exoskeleton has the potential to change her life. I would like to thank everyone for their fundraising efforts that will help her access this ground-breaking technology.”

For more information about the HIBL charity challenge or to donate funds to Emily’s cause, visit the team’s Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/hiblcoasttocoast or http://www.facebook.com/hiblcoasttocoast