Is the Warrington-based Sharples Group the fittest business in Cheshire?

They're not exactly doing press-ups by their desks but the fitness fervour at Sharples Group is all in a day's work WORDS BY CARL NAGAITIS

The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012  issue of Cheshire Life 

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Is this the fittest business in Cheshire? Staff at the Sharples Group, a 27 employee Warrington-based document management company, are convinced that they would be in with more than a chance of a trophy if such a competition existed.

Healthy lifestyles and a flair for fitness are part of the corporate ethos in a business where directors Mark Brocklehurst and David Griffiths lead by example.

David loves stretching his legs and is planning a couple of half-marathons this year in aid of local charities and Mark last year cycled the 874 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise �35,000 for a local lads’ and girls’ club’ to celebrate his 50th birthday.

In fact cycling is an activity that Sharples are actively encouraging within their business. Their decision to sign up to the Government’s Cycle Scheme has been enough to convince many of the workforce of the value of exercise.

Today half of Sharples’ employees cycle to and from work while others have taken up lunchtime activities from running around the industrial estate on which the company is based, to swimming in the local pool. And if a cloudburst threatens, the Sharples fitness fanatics get the adrenalin pumping on the in-house treadmill.

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‘Our fitness initiative has had a profound effect on the business,’said MD Mark Brocklehurst. ‘Thanks to the Government scheme that enables workers to buy their own bikes with an interest-free loan, we have replaced more than 90 car journeys with cycling to work.

‘We have also calculated that staff have lost a combined weight of 264 pounds simply by cycling to work or taking part in lunchtime activities. ‘There is a definite buzz about the place with people obviously energised and more relaxed. I’m convinced a healthier workforce is a happier and more productive workforce, and that has got to be good for business.’

However the Sharples Group could well take a significant step up the ladder of fitness fame next year when Mark sets off on a gruelling 3,000 miles trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

He will be one of a team of four who will be taking part in the 2013 Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Challenge to raise money for a youth mentoring scheme.

Mark said: ‘This is not just the physical challenge, it is as much of a challenge to raise the money and make it to the start line. Fewer than 500 people have rowed across an ocean - more people have been into space - and the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Challenge is known as the toughest race on earth.

The team will be at sea for about six weeks, rowing for two hours before snatching food and sleep for another two hours.

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