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Gloucestershire Business News

Fundraising challenge continues - For Ben

It's been over two weeks since teams set off on a virtual walk or run to Istanbul, in memory of 22-year-old Ben Brown.

On Saturday, seven teams of cyclists will be saddling up to follow the same route.

Ben, who died at the end of April, was a member of Typhoon Squadron on the Loughborough University Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme - and a valued member of the Punchline delivery team.

Around 800 walkers and runners have been putting in the miles from Loughborough to Istanbul to raise funds for suicide prevention charity, Papyrus. So far, the teams have raised £26,600.

Two teams have already completed their 4,600 mile trek - Team Ohana and Gloucester Penguins for Ben. The Punchline team was a part of Gloucester Penguins and was very happy to contribute 729.88km towards the total distance for the team. There are still eight teams out running and walking.

Ben's mum, Helen Hartery-Brown said: "The Crypt Runners are due to finish at about 2pm today. Some of the staff will be at the school running around the field and we hope to pop up there to say thank you as they finish.

"Two other teams have reached Istanbul and are on their way back and five teams are still on their way to Istanbul."

Ben's stepfather Mark Hartery, who runs event management company Aitch and Aitch Bee with Helen, said: "We were in Loughbourough at the weekend and managed to have a socially distanced catch-up with the guys who organised the challenge for the squadron.

"They would normally get paid to attend squadron, so they are getting paid to run instead. Nearly all of them are donating their money to the run. They are students, they rely on this money and they're donating £100-200 that they earned in May to the fundraising. It's incredible."

The teams of cyclists, each with about 25-30 members, will set out on their challenge on Saturday. A few of the team members have already taken part in the walking and running.

Helen and Mark have posted out about 180 Loughborough to Istanbul for Ben T-shirts to people all over the country to help raise awareness.

Mark said: "People just want them to wear to start the conversation about mental health and prevention of young suicide. The next stage is to keep getting the message out there.

"It's so important for us that when we emerge from lockdown we are still able to be kind to people. We don't want to go back to the pre-lockdown world, where people are too busy and wrapped up in themselves to care about others. We need to take time for each other when we go back to whatever normal life looks like."

You can donate to support all of the teams at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/loughborough2istanbul 

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