Memory of sporting Leamington dad lives on through major charity event
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The memory of a Leamington sportsman who lost his life to a brain tumour will live on as more than 30 of his friends, family and work colleagues hit the road this month.
Ben Burton, who played hockey for Khalsa Leamington, died last year, 18 months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, aged 49.
Following his diagnosis, Ben and close friends Andy Pell, Will Larkin, and Adam Bellerby devised The Burton Bash to inspire people to get more active.
The Burton Bash raises funds for The Brain Tumour Charity, which supports people and families affected by the disease, and The Myton Hospices which gave Ben palliative care, and has just topped the £100,000 fund-raising mark.
The Burton Bash features two fundraising events the first , Give Ben 10, which encourages people to get active in Ben’s birthday month of September, and the second, Castle to Castle, a cycle ride held each September, between Warwick and Ludlow, where Ben grew up.
This year’s Castle to Castle takes place on Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October.
It is the third year of fundraising and the first edition of the ride since Ben’s death in October 2022.
Ben’s wife Debbie, who will start the event and travel to see the peloton arrive in Ludlow, said this year’s event would feature more than 30 of Ben’s closet friends and family.
“Obviously this will be a poignant year as it is the first Castle to Castle since Ben died and it is really fantastic to see the effort that has gone into organising this and all the other events Ben’s friends, former work colleagues and hockey team mates have organised to raise funds in Ben’s memory.
“To have hit the £100,000 fundraising mark is quite incredible and I know Ben would have been so incredibly proud seeing them continue with the events because he believed so much in the benefit of exercise and being physically active outdoors.”
Previous editions of the cycle ride have raised more than £35,000, as the inaugural ride in 2021 saw more than £16,000 raised, with fundraising boosted by an increased number of riders in 2022.
The 104km route starts in Warwick on Saturday morning before winding through the Warwickshire countryside to finish at Ben’s hometown of Ludlow, with riders staying overnight to refresh and rest before cycling back to Warwick on Sunday morning.
The ride finishes at 4pm and is followed on Sunday afternoon by a celebration and raffle at the Bowling Green pub in Warwick.
Andy Pell said: “It is bittersweet to be riding the event this year without Ben, but we are determined to keep helping people get active on their bikes and by any other means in his memory”.
“The ride continues to be an accessible and enjoyable way to get outdoors and raise money for two organisations, close to many of our hearts. We are excited for this year’s ride and looking forward to seeing everyone at the start line in Warwick.”
To find out more about the Burton Bash and support the fundraising visit https://www.burtonbash.club/