Marathon man Ben receives national award

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MARATHON man Ben Smith has picked up another award after he was named best volunteer fundraiser at the Institute of Fundraising’s (IoF) 2017 national fundraising awards.

Ben, who attended the Muckle Toon Adventure Festival last month to run the 5k and present prizes, completed an unimaginable challenge.

He ran a marathon every day for 401 consecutive days. After experiencing bullying as a child, leading to severe mental health problems in early adulthood, including two suicide attempts, Ben suffered a mini-stroke aged only 29.

He took up running as part of his recovery and realised that completing an ultra-running challenge could help charities which tackle bullying and prejudice.

He raised more than £300,000 for Kidscape and Stonewall, smashing his initial target of £250,000.

While on the road for more than a year, he found time to give more than 100 talks to schools about his challenge and the reasons behind it, encouraging young people in need to speak out and seek help.He ran two of his marathons with the Muckle Toon Joggers in Langholm.

His sporting achievement is without compare and his fundraising efforts beyond anything the charities had seen previously.

Ben was given the award at a glittering ceremony in London hosted by celebrity comedian and actor Miles Jupp. The awards recognise excellent fundraising of charities, agencies and individual fundraisers in a range of categories. They represent some of the most exciting and innovative fundraising over the last year, individual stories of dedication and hard work against the odds and the best collaborative working in the sector.

Amanda Bringans, chairwoman of the Institute of Fundraising, said: "Ben’s fundraising story is inspirational and both an incredible athletic and fundraising accomplishment. He was driven by his own experience of bullying to ensure children have the support they need and showed true determination and grit to endure 401 consecutive marathons. This is one of the most incredible examples of individual fundraising I have seen and Ben’s award is richly deserved.”

Ben said: “Over the years I’ve won a few awards but the national fundraising awards and particularly the best volunteer fundraiser is something I’ve always aspired to.

“The recognition which comes with winning this will help us when launching our foundation later in the year and, hopefully, will be able to make a real difference to children who are being bullied in the UK.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 12:46PM
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