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Shropshire Council staff in round-the-world challenge in memory of colleague

By Sue Austin | Health | Published:

A team at Shropshire Council is travelling across the globe in a virtual fundraiser to remember a colleague.

Andrew Bennett

Members of the ICT department have travelled 25,000km of their around-the-world trip to raise money for Cancer Research UK in memory of Andrew Bennett.

The challenge, #Km4Cancer has seen the team travelling by foot, bike, rowing boat, exercise bike, or anything that requires physical effort. It set out on the 53-day attempt on July 1 and has been racking up the kilometres ever since.

Andrew Boxall, Shropshire Council’s head of technology, said: “We wanted to do something for charity after losing our friend and colleague Andrew Bennett to cancer.

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

"We’re now 15 days from finishing, and hope to achieve a far greater distance as we’ve been promised more donations if we can go further. The team have been amazing as we’re fitting our kilometres around busy work and home lives, so it’s been fantastic that we’ve been able to travel so far.”

The colleagues track the distance travelled on their smartphones or built-in measuring devices and submit totals regularly to a central tracking system.

A dashboard showing their location around the globe has been created to show where they would have been if this were an actual around-the-world trip, which can been seen on shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire-council/km4cancer.

Donations have come from technology companies such as Nutanix and Sophos. Other companies have committed to donations totalling several thousand if the team can achieve a greater number of kilometres, including Hitachi Solutions and Liquid Logic.

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Julie Edwards

Michele Leith, Shropshire Council’s director of workforce and transformation, said: “It’s been a fantastic effort by the team, and I’ve enjoyed doing my bit.

"In these times of home working, it’s easy to stay seated for a long period, and this gives a real incentive to get out and about.

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"I’d like to thank all those who have already donated and urge anyone who can to please donate. The messages coming through on the donations page really motivate us to keep going, so thank you.”

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for organisational transformation and digital infrastructure, said: “I’ve been on my exercise bike and road bike, adding my totals to this fantastic effort which has become surprisingly competitive.

"Cancer Research is one of many charities that has had funding slow in recent times and it’s great to be doing something to support them.

"We don’t need to emphasise the importance of tackling cancer as a lot of people will have been affected, but please consider sponsoring this great effort if you can – it really does mean a lot to the team, who have literally gone the extra mile in memory of their colleague and friend.”

There are currently 94 members of the Shropshire Council ICT team, of all ages taking part, with each person aiming to travel at least 46km each week – with most aiming for significantly more. Julie Edwards is one of the council’s software specialists and has travelled the furthest for the challenge, completing over 1,100km so far.

Make a donation here

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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