Virtual challenge raises thousands in memory of Loughborough student

Ben Brown Image copyright Brown family
Image caption Most of the money raised from the challenge is being donated to the suicide prevention charity Papyrus

A father whose son took his own life earlier this year said he would have been “delighted” by fundraising in his memory.

Ben Brown was studying at Loughborough University when he died in April.

His squadron had been planning an exercise to Istanbul and back, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.

About 1,000 people have since teamed up to cover the 4,600 miles between Loughborough and Istanbul in a virtual challenge in the 22-year-old’s honour.

More than £31,500 has been raised, £25,000 of which will be donated to suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

Mr Brown, from Gloucester, was a member of the Typhoon Squadron on the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme.

He had been donating money to Papyrus and sharing information about the organisation in the weeks before his death, the charity said.

Image caption Friend Jamie Molyneux (right) said Ben Brown’s death was a “big shock”

Officer cadet Nick Radford said: “Originally we thought it would be just our squadron, 30 or 40 of us, with a target of raising £1 for every one of the 4,600 miles.

“We had no idea what was going to happen next.

“Suddenly teams of runners, walkers and cyclists were all getting involved, everybody wanted to do their bit and it just went crazy.”

In total, 14 teams – featuring about 800 runners and walkers and 200 cyclists – signed up, Mr Brown’s father Chris said.

Most of the teams have now completed the distance.

Image copyright Brown family
Image caption Chris Brown said his son would have been “delighted” by his squadron’s actions

Mr Brown’s father added the challenge went global, with people in South Africa and France taking part.

He said: “Ben did not like fuss around him but he would be delighted that the squadron has pulled themselves together and led themselves on.”

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