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Shropshire Council’s IT team to go ‘around the world’ for Cancer Research

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

The IT department at Shropshire Council have embarked on a trip 'around the world' to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Andrew Bennett

#Km4Cancer will see the team track their kilometres travelled by foot, bike or rowing boat over a 53-day period, with the aim of travelling the 32,281 kilometres.

It follows the recent sad death from cancer of a member of the team.

Andrew Boxall, the council’s head of technology, said: “We wanted to do something for charity after losing our friend and colleague Andrew Bennett to cancer less than a month ago.

"Andrew had many passions and a notable one was his love of trains, so when we found an around the world train trip we decided to attempt the same distance over the same period – which seemed sensible at the time.

“I’m confident we can do it as we’re passionate about the charity, Cancer Research.

"As a department, cancer has hit us many times with people’s wives, parents and other loved ones being taken and the loss of Andrew spurred us on to do something in his memory and those we’ve lost.

“Whilst this may not seem like a big challenge, our roles are largely sedentary as we’re required to be behind a computer screen for most of our days. We’re also discussing extra sponsorship from some of the big technology companies we work with for going further than the 32,281km – so it’ll be interesting to see how far we manage to go, and more importantly, how much we raise. Good luck everyone, I’ve got my trainers at the ready."

The team will track the miles taken on their smartphones and submit totals regularly to a central tracking system.

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A website will track their progress showing where they would have been on the train journey around the world, with the team posting regular updates from social media accounts using #km4cancer.

Michele Leith, Shropshire Council’s director of workforce and transformation, said: “When the team told me about their idea for this, I first confirmed they were not actually going around the world, before encouraging them and then agreeing to take part as we want to do something in Andrew’s memory.

"We are very aware that exercise and health are factors in our likelihood of getting cancer, so this is an opportunity to do something good in several ways as we can raise money, get fit and give a small tribute to a fantastic member of the team who will be sorely missed.”

Each of those taking part need to travel just under 50km a week for the 53 days and have agreed to walk, run, cycle, row or any physical exercise that helps them travel a distance. All these details will be recorded and presented to keep a tally of their efforts.

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Michele added: “As an ICT team they are known for doing things a little differently. It’s perhaps the nature of their work, and this is another example of them coming up with an innovative solution to raise money for an excellent cause.

"Myself and my fellow councillors will be sponsoring the team and we urge you to consider doing the same.”

Lee Chapman, cabinet member for transformation and digital infrastructure, said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Bennett for his services to the council. His death has been a great loss to the whole department.”

People can keep up to date with the km4cancer challenge via the Shropshire Council social media accounts – just search for Shropshire Council or #km4cancer.

Make a donation at fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/km4cancer

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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