Keith Whiteman wants children to have the best start in life.

This weekend he took part in a cycle challenge raising money for the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal.

The Tauranga man cycled 230km to various Countdown stores in the Bay of Plenty. Money raised in the appeal goes to children's wards in hospitals around the country.

Mr Whiteman, who is the Bay of Plenty Countdown area manager, said his grandchild was born premature and needed a lot of help from doctors.


"I can totally appreciate the value of hospitals and the work all the doctors and nurses do." On Friday Mr Whiteman biked 143.6km from Matamata to Greerton visiting eight Countdown supermarkets and on Saturday he biked another 87.7km, starting at Countdown Bayfair and ending up at Countdown Whakatane.

Events such as sausage sizzles, cake stalls and raffles at the supermarkets Mr Whiteman visited also raised money for the appeal.

Mr Whiteman said he had been training for the event for the past six months but when the Bay of Plenty Times caught up with him he joked that even that was not long enough.

"I do have a tremendous support crew though - and we have had a good crowd wherever we have stopped," he said. "I had a great night's sleep when I finished."

Mr Whiteman said he had a "fantastic couple of days".

"The weather was great and we managed to get into Whakatane an hour earlier than expected."

He said he was already thinking about what he could do as a fundraiser next year.

Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal chairwoman Ruth Krippner urged people to show their support for the hospital appeal.