A Leamington man with a brain tumor has shrugged off the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to lead a group of his friends on a 100k fundraising cycle ride between two of England's famous castles.
Ben Burton, a 48-year-old father-of-two, and Andy Pell, Will Larkin, and Adam Bellerby, who have all been friends since their days playing for Leamington Hockey Club 20 years ago, took on The Burton Bash challenge in which they were among a 20-strong peloton which cycled from Ludlow Castle in Shropshire to Warwick Castle and raised more than £7,000 for The Brain Tumor Charity.
Ben, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy as well as battling the effects of recent radiotherapy sessions, was delighted to cycle 84k out of the 104k route and would have completed more if fellow riders and support crew had not insisted he took a break.
He said: “I wanted to bring together family and friends to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.
"I know Shropshire isn’t flat and I wasn't looking forward to the 1,000m of climbing, including Clee Hill, so it was a tough ask as I wasn't able to train as much as I’d have liked."
Will, who organised the event, said: "This event was classic Ben, full of fun, energy and inspiring people to get out on their bike.
"Andy, Adam and I wanted to support Ben during this most challenging of times, because he is just a brilliant guy, by showing that we were there for him and this is what we came up with.
"It was great to see Ben enjoy himself on the ride with so many friends around him, and the reception he got on our arrival was just amazing."
Andy added: “We wanted the cycle ride to be a challenge but also as inclusive as possible, getting as many people of all cycling abilities taking part as we could, and it was especially great that Debbie [Ben's wife] and Ben’s young daughters could join us for the last part of the ride, through Warwick and to the finish at the castle.
“Ben is one of the good guys and has been there for all of us over the years, so this time it was fantastic for everyone to show that they are there for him, we are all 'Team Burton'.”
To find out more about the charity, the challenge or to make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/burtonbash