Dad Ben Ray cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End in memory of ‘beautiful’ son fundraising for Magpas Air Ambulance

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A dad will take on an epic challenge in memory of his little boy who died of a heart attack, despite the best efforts of the air ambulance crew who “stayed by his side until the end”.

Every year around this time, Ben Ray takes on a long-distance challenge to help raise money for Magpas Air Ambulance. It is something the Market Deeping man does annually to honour the memory of his young son, Harry, who died five years ago.

This Father's Day, Ben set off on his biggest challenge yet - to cycle the full length of the country, from John O’Groats to Land’s End with one of his oldest friends, Simon Ford. In total, the pair will be cycling 900 miles.

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This will be the fourth successive year Ben has taken on a long-distance challenge.

"I complete these challenges in memory of my beautiful son, Harry, who sadly passed away on 22nd December 2019," Ben explained. The dedicated dad described Harry as an “amazing, kind, caring” boy who “had a smile that would light a whole room up.”

Harry, who would be celebrating his 12th birthday this year, collapsed due to a cardiac arrest. Magpas Air Ambulance was called to help, and – although they couldn’t save Harry – the medical team did everything they could to care for him and stayed by his side until the end.

“Without Magpas Air Ambulance that day, myself, Jenson, Ezra and all of Harry's family would not have been able to say our final goodbyes,” Ben recalls. “Magpas Air Ambulance gave me so much that day - that’s why I’ve chosen to raise money for the charity ever since.”

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Last year, Ben achieved the incredible feat of running 30 half-marathons in the month of May.

The 35-year-old baker is under no illusions that this year’s epic task will be less arduous. He said: "Training has gone well bar a few hiccups,” he said. “And although I'm nervous, I'm also excited and can't wait to get started now."

Ben’s JustGiving page, named Tour de Harry, has already racked up close to £1,500 in sponsorship. If you would like to contribute to the fundraising dad’s efforts then you can make a donation via Ben’s Just Giving page.