Staff of an Andover business are set to run the equivalent of the UK to Australia in a bid to raise funds for sufferers of a rare condition.

Scientific Management International (UK) Ltd (SMI), which produces a variety of products for military vehicles and power generating equipment, is planning to see its team aim to cover 9,000 miles under their own steam. This distance is the equivalent of covering the distance between their Andover bases and their office in Perth, Australia.

They are raising money for SMA UK, which supports individuals with spinal muscular atrophy, a rare condition which causes skeletal muscles to waste away.

SMI said: “SMA UK is a brilliant charity and we hope our effort this year will make a big difference to the support it is able to provide to families who are facing very difficult circumstances.”

SMI was founded in 1992 as Scientific Management Associates, and relocated to Andover in 1995. It was renamed to SMI in 2017 following a management buyout, with bases and work all around the world including in Perth, the focus of the challenge.

The company recently applied for permission to extend its manufacturing hub in town.

From May 1, members of the company have been collectively aiming to cover the distance of 9,000 miles by self-powered means, including walking, running, cycling, swimming and using gym equipment.

Each week, participants will give their overall total, which will be kept track of over the weeks and months. As they reach milestones of famous cities with their distance total, a virtual map of their challenge will be updated.

SMI hopes that its employees will make it to Perth before the end of the year, and raise hundreds of pounds while doing so. At the time of writing, the challenge had raised £677, with £126 gift aid on top of that.

SMA UK paid tribute to the firm, saying: “Thank you to all the staff at SMI Group who have set themselves the challenge of covering the distance from Andover to Perth, Australia, by the end of the year to raise money.”

The money will go towards the charity’s work supporting those with spinal muscular atrophy, whether that is providing information for individuals and their families, aiming to improve access to support, and funding research into treatments and care of those with the condition.

If you would like to donate to the fundraiser, please visit: