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Technology team's marathon round-the-world effort

Nearly 100 members of Shropshire Council’s technology team have completed 25,000 kilometres of a mammoth round-the-world fundraising trip in memory of a former colleague.

The #Km4Cancer campaign, raising cash for Cancer Research has seen 94 members of the ICT team travel virtually across the globe, after losing one of their colleagues to cancer in May 2020. 

Travelling by foot, bike, rowing boat, exercise bike, or anything that requires physical effort, the team set out on their 53–day attempt at the start of July and have 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 (pictured below) 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 team 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 you can find on the dedicated webpage – http://shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire-council/km4cancer/ 

The team have received donations 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, particularly Hitachi Solutions and Liquid Logic. 

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.

“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. It really does mean a lot to the team, who have literally gone the extra mile in memory of their colleague and friend.”

Each person has been aiming to travel at least 46km each week – with most aiming for significantly more. The youngest participants are in their late teens, with the eldest not wishing to share their age but noting: “old enough that this challenge has not been great for my knees”!.  

You can keep up to date with the KM4Cancer challenge via the Shropshire Council social media accounts and on the dedicated webpage – http://shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire-council/km4cancer/ 

You can also make a donation here https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/km4cancer

PICTURED ABOVE: Top row from left, Nathan Hoare, Julie Edwards, and Jonathan Fraser, three of the 94 ICT team members taking on the challenge

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