Members of the Vapour team and its extended network headed down to London last Thursday to show our CEO Tim Mercer support as he stepped into the boxing ring at CRN’s Fight Night — raising vital funds for our nominated charity of the year, Borne.

Despite putting on a truly courageous fight from start to finish, Tim ‘No Mercy’ Mercer was just pipped at the post by his opponent, Paul O’Sullivan in a choice blow which brought it down to points. Although he didn’t secure a blue corner win, the top tier performance did earn our founder the esteemed ‘Fighter of the Night’ title — ending the knuckle biting fundraiser on a high!

“It was a fantastic experience that made the weeks and months of hard graft worth it!” commented Vapour’s champion. “Those who know me will testify how much I revel in a physical challenge, so the opportunity to test my endurance, resolve, and grit at the event was too good to miss. It was emotional to see so many supporters out in full force ringside on the night as well.”

And the team isn’t stopping there. Next month, Vapour’s charity golf day returns to Oulton Hall in Leeds by popular demand. Following the success of last year’s event in September — which saw the team raise a fantastic £6,385 — golf fanatics will gather on the green on Thursday 23 June for a day of friendly competition and charitable donations. For anyone wishing to attend, there is still a handful of places remaining. But be quick — they won’t be free for long.

In 2021, the team announced its pledge to dig deep for this hardworking medical research charity. And since the announcement, various colleagues have got stuck into a number of fundraising activities — bake sales, sponsored walks, a half marathon, and an intense week of endurance fitness training, to name a few. So far, the donation tally sits at an astonishing £10,500, but we’re sure there’s plenty more where that came from.

Reflecting on the reasons for choosing Borne – an organisation dedicated to saving lives, preventing disability, and creating lifelong health for mothers and babies – Tim notes: “Our families are what we seek to protect the most, and with premature birth an ongoing difficulty that nobody completely understands, there seemed no better cause.

“It is the leading reason for childhood mortality in the world today. More significant than infection, trauma or cancer, it affects some 15 million babies across the world every year – including nearly 60,000 in the UK. So, we want to do our bit to help stop babies being born too soon. And we hope we can drum up a fair amount of support for our varied efforts.”

Follow Vapour on social media to watch more of the team’s fundraising efforts unfold.

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Vapour boss Tim Mercer has signed up for his toughest fundraiser yet, all in aid of the premature birth charity, Borne.

On 19 May, our CEO will don his boxing gloves and step into the ring for the CRN Fight Night, at The Brewery in London.

A sell out industry event that has raised £220,000 for charity since the contests began in 2008, this is Tim’s first time up against an opponent.

Aware the selection process is notoriously tough, he applied to fight at the start of 2022, before being invited for a nerve-racking assessment. He was one of only 16 UK tech professionals selected, and all eyes are now on the black-tie event to see if Tim ‘No Mercy’ Mercer can bring home the title.

Fighting for the blue team, he will face Paul O’Sullivan, UK sales director at Threatscape, in the red corner.

Travelling to the Ring Boxing Club in Southwark, South London, every week for training, Tim had already upped his fitness regime last year, in preparation for his ‘week of hell’. That particular challenge - which saw him row, cycle, run and climb 286km - was one of his first major fundraisers for Borne back in October.

Since then, he and the Vapour team have raised £8,500 for the charity - and counting - with hopes that Fight Night will get them to £15,000. The ultimate goal is to reach £23,000 before the year is out.

Commenting on his latest challenge, Tim said: “I’m a big boxing fan, so when I saw the application process open for Fight Night, I thought - why not?!

“But when the news dropped that I’d made the lineup, s**t got real!

“There’s a difference between sparring and going toe to toe with an opponent - as I’ve already learned. But I’m tackling this event just as I would anything else - properly! I’m training hard, eating really well, and improving my technique week by week. I’ve got a table of supporters coming to cheer me on but I hope people will get behind me from a distance too, and dig deep for Borne.”

Over 15 million babies are born too soon every year, and 1 million of those die. Borne is a charity dedicated to saving lives, preventing disability, and creating lifelong health for mothers and babies. Anyone wishing to sponsor Tim can donate via Vapour’s JustGiving page.

October feels like the month the business community properly woke back up – particularly when talking about tech. An increasing number of organisations have continued to acknowledge the emerging threats and opportunities caused by the ‘sticking plaster’ solutions introduced during the pandemic, with data security, network resilience and latency, among the most talked about topics.

When it comes to comms, Gartner published its new UCaaS Magic Quadrant for 2021, with brands like Microsoft hailed for leadership, while challenger Google was praised for ease of use. With 74% of enterprise users forecast to have ditched their desktop phone by 2024, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this evolving space.

There have been product launches, investments, company acquisitions, movers and shakers, and more. The media has therefore had a LOT to talk about. But with disruption in our DNA, Vapour has continued to make plenty of headlines over the past three months.

Here are some of our highlights - click on the links throughout to catch up…

Vapour heads up sustainability in tech feature

Our head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty, headlined an environmental feature in Comms Dealer, which explored how organisations can reduce the carbon impact of their tech infrastructure – and the role that suppliers can play.

Senior hire gets industry talking

News of our latest hire caused ripples throughout the tech community, as we welcomed Glenn Ollivant ‘home’. He first entered the sector exactly 15 years ago, when he was trained by Vapour’s CEO, Tim Mercer. He’s had a high-flying career since, with roles for Virgin, Kcom and TalkTalk Business, and we’re delighted that his next big move, was into our ambitious team

This article from UK Tech News was one of our favourites.

How many SD-WAN solutions are truly security-first?

Vapour was interviewed by tech title Jaxenter, this month, on the incredibly hot topic of SD-WAN. But while these agile networks are causing quite the debate in industry, it’s crucial that IT leaders look for one that is truly security first. We delved into the exciting potential of this game-changing technology, while considering which solutions are truly worth the investment.

Digital transformation secrets unlocked

Don’t innovate for innovation’s sake, was the top-line advice provided by Vapour in an expert comment for Top Business Tech. The piece, which looked at the roll out of digital transformation projects in organisations large and small, explored how to reap maximum value from such an exercise, and why the role of people is just as crucial as technology and process digitisation.

Vapour collaboration accelerates Allvotec’s UC roadmap

In September, we shared that ICT specialist Allvotec had recently partnered with Vapour to bolster its Unified Communications portfolio. Allvotec is forecasting huge growth over the next 12 months, as organisations continue to adopt digital transformation projects at pace. This story hit the headlines, and was picked up by UKTechNews, CommsDealer, UC Today, Networking Plus and Business Link to name just a few!

And a feel-good story to finish…

CEO Tim Mercer tackles 286km challenge for Borne

There was widespread – and deserved – media support for Vapour boss Tim Mercer, when he embarked on a 286km challenge which he affectionately named his ‘week of hell’. In only five days he cycled 211km, rowed 20km, ran 13km and completed the 42km Yorkshire Three Peaks climb - all in aid of the charity committed to preventing premature Birth. His enduring feat was the latest in a series of fundraising efforts for Borne and has taken us that little bit closer to our bold £23,000 target. Thanks for getting behind us LeedsTech, UK Today News, Topic UK, BusinessUpNorth, Huddersfield Hub, and Eminetra.

There’s a lot more to come from Vapour in the final weeks of the year, as we prepare to announce new industry partnerships, customer projects and toolkit developments. To be among the first to read the latest, follow us on our social media channels Twitter and LinkedIn.

Members of Vapour Cloud’s management team rolled their sleeves up this week as part of our ongoing efforts to raise funds for this year’s chosen worthy cause, CLIC Sargent.

We announced our 12-month pledge to dig deep for this hardworking children’s charity, at the start of summer. And as September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it seemed the perfect time to get the whole business involved.

So, following our usual Monday morning meeting, the whole team headed outside for a pop-up car wash!

Vapour’s CEO Tim, head of operations Carol, sales manager Alec, finance manager Jill and head of engineering Craig Holmes got to work cleaning colleagues’ vehicles, in return for a £7 donation per car.

But the senior team didn’t stop there. They also promised to more than quadruple the funds they would personally donate, if an employee got to work on their car!

“It was a nice way to kick off the week,” commented Vapour’s charity champion Emily Potter. “At times there were bubbles everywhere, which naturally raised a lot of smiles as well as more than £200 for an organisation we care a lot about.”

With plenty coming up on Vapour’s fundraising agenda, the team is particularly excited about taking part in the Huddersfield Santa Dash and Reindeer Run with families, at the end of the year!

We’ve talked a lot – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – about ‘giving back’. And now, spearheaded by our newly-appointed charity champion Emily Potter, Vapour’s fundraising efforts are about to go up a notch.

We’ve pledged to commit to 12 months of support for CLIC Sargent – a hard-working organisation which fights tirelessly to stop cancer destroying young lives.

This worthy cause – which lies particularly close to the heart of one of our colleagues – was chosen by the team. And now all eyes are on the calendar of charitable activities that Emily has drawn up for us to get involved in.

Aiming to organise something for everyone, she’s kicking off with a 50-50 raffle – a simple prize draw which sees the lucky winner take home half of the proceeds while the rest goes into the charity’s coffers.

Then we’ll transform our car park into a car wash in the first week of August, when Vapour’s management team will roll up their sleeves and clean colleagues’ vehicles, for only a £7 donation each. Rumour has it they’ll donate even more to the ‘pot’, if any colleagues are willing to return the favour!

But this is just the beginning, alludes Emily.

“I see this as a fantastic opportunity to not only do something really worthwhile, for an unbelievable cause, but also come together as a team, and have some fun,” she said.

“I’ve already got more ideas than there are months in the year – and colleagues’ suggestions are welcome too – but the aim between now and mid-2021 is to all do our bit and hopefully raise as much as we can in the process. I’d love to think we could do a long walk or a team challenge next year, but I’ll let everyone get warmed up a little, first!!”

Commenting on turning Emily’s suggestion into reality, Vapour’s head of operations and compliance Carol McGrotty said: “We’ve got a ‘speak up’ policy within the business which encourages colleagues to share ideas and innovations, frustrations and fears, so that – together – we keep pushing for better.

“Emily came to us a couple of months ago via our ‘You Said We Did’ board, to ask if we could do more for charity. So, we nominated her to run with it! Fast forward to summer 2020 – the start of our new financial year – and we’re delighted to have a packed agenda of fundraising activities already in the diary for this incredible charity.”

CLIC Sargent provides an array of services ranging from day-to-day support so families can try to cope with a cancer diagnosis, help to manage the financial impact, homes from home, services that help young people to thrive not just survive, and being there during bereavement.

Watch this space and why not follow us on Twitter to see our fundraising activities in action?

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