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Gloucestershire Business News

For Ben; One Year On

Fundraisers will be running and walking throughout April to raise cash and awareness in memory of 22-year-old Ben Brown.

Ben from Gloucester, who was a student at Loughborough University and a member of the Punchline delivery team, died in April last year.

Following walking, running and cycling challenges last year, friends and family will once more be taking to the streets starting on Friday, which would have been Ben's 23rd birthday. The aim will be to make it to Bangkok virtually by 27th April, the anniversary of Ben's death.

Ben's stepfather, Mark Hartery, who runs event management company Aitch and Aitch Bee with Ben's mum Helen Hartery-Brown, said: "Ben loved to travel. His last big adventure was to Bangkok and Vietnam two years ago. He loved Bankgok, so it seemed a good place to aim for.

"This year it will be one team all running and walking. I think we're up to 200 people talking part, but people aren't able to sign up until tomorrow, so there could be many more.

"The challenge will run from the 2nd to the 27th regardless of how far we get. If we get to Bangkok early, we will come back. And if we get back to Loughborough before the challenge ends, we will start again!"

Once again, Mark and Helen are being supported with the organisation of the challenge by Ben's friends from Typhoon Squadron on the Loughborough University Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme.

Typhoon Squadron will be setting up the online maps which collate the distances travelled by the team on the 11,765km journey.

Helen, who last saw Ben on 13th March last year, said: "It's all about suicide prevention, mental health and checking on your mates. Last year we know people used the challenge as time with their mates and to sort their heads out.

"We are still living in strange times and things are not normal by any stretch. It's all about talking and knowing that it's OK not to be OK."

This year, the challenge is raising money for three charities:

• Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide

• CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably

• Shout - a text-based mental health charity

Mark said: "It's widening the sphere to mental health generally and reaching out to people.

"We wish Ben had reached out. There was help out there and he chose not to use it. We don't want anyone else to go through what we've been through. That's the reason we're doing it."

The Punchline team will be joining the runners and walkers doing their bit for Ben, starting on Friday.

Donations have already started rolling in, reaching £3,000 before the challenge has even started. You can donate to support the team at Virgin Money Giving | The Road to Bangkok.

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