At Christopher Ward, we love those who share our underdog spirit: the doers, the daredevils and the downright determined.

Tom Hicks

And our Challenger programme is our way of helping people with exceptional talent, but less-than-exceptional bank balances. Whether they’re musicians, athletes or explorers, we’ve got their back.

Since its inception, the programme has helped to create four world champions and one Olympic gold medallist (step forward Henley’s Will Satch MBE).

Our latest Challengers demonstrate Christopher Ward commitment to those who go the extra mile – literally – to achieve their goals.

Tom Hicks is a conservationist and explorer. In 2022 he’ll be travelling to the North Pole to measure snow depths and melt rates for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (Charity No. 1106893).

The Foundation runs wildlife preservation schemes in Asia and Africa, and while far from the Arctic, flooding caused by polar meltwater will destroy the habitat of the animals it’s trying to save. Tom’s work will be vital in protecting at-risk species from the effects of climate change.

A titanium crystal bar

“This is not your typical ‘brand ambassador’ programme, we set it up for altruistic reasons not as a marketing exercise.”

- Mike France, CEO and co-founder

James Hayden

Another recent addition to the Challenger line-up is James Hayden. One of the world’s most respected endurance cyclists, he’s back-to-back winner of the gruelling Transcontinental Race (which goes from the Black Sea to Brittany in France).

James has overcome extreme pain and unimaginable exhaustion all over the world to climb – literally – to the peak of his sport.

He believes the partnership works because his personal philosophy chimes with the ethos of Christopher Ward. “One of the things that attracted me to the Challenger programme was how CW focuses on being the best they can be in an industry with huge players,” he says. “What I do is a challenge and what CW does is a challenge – going up against the big brands as I go up against the establishment of cycling.”

When a Challenger reaches a certain level of success, they graduate to the Challenger Alumni ‘family’. Among their number includes rower Will Satch, world champion wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn and racing driver (and winner of the European Le Mans Series) Jody Fanning.

Will Satch

For Christopher Ward CEO and co-founder, Mike France, the Challenger programme is a symbol of everything the business stands for.

“This is not your typical ‘brand ambassador’ programme,” he says. “We set it up for altruistic reasons not as a marketing exercise. These people, whether it’s elite wheelchair athlete Sammi Kinghorn or conservationist Tom Hicks, are an inspiration to us all. To see them achieve their aims, partly as a result of our help, is enormously satisfying.”

Could you qualify for funding through the Christopher Ward Challenger programme?
Email and let us know what you’ve achieved and where you’d like to go next.