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Cwmbran volunteer raised £240 for British Heart Foundation

Ben Warburton wearing his medal

A volunteer at Cwmbran’s British Heart Foundation shop raised over £240 in a sponsored half marathon to help in the fight against heart and circulatory diseases.

Ben Warburton, 33, said: “Just after the first lockdown, myself and my assistant manager, Michelle Giles and Warehouse Assistant, Philip Clements signed up to run the Cardiff Half Marathon to raise funds for the BHF. We found out that it was postponed until March next year, but you could take part in the Cardiff Virtual Half Marathon instead. My store manager Andy jokingly said there was a treadmill we were selling which I could do the virtual half marathon on.”

Ben Warburton on the running machine
Ben completed the run in the Cwmbran BHF shop

After checking that miles logged on a running machine would count towards the official virtual marathon event, Ben and the team set about preparing for the run to take place in the shop window.

Ben continues, “The morning of the race, I set up at 8:45am and started the run about 9:10am. I even sold the treadmill while I was running on it!”

With colleagues and shoppers cheering Ben on through the day and bringing supplies of water to keep him hydrated, he completed the run in  4hrs and 42 minutes.

Special Olympics Wales and Great Britain Judo

Ben is no stranger to sporting events, having taken part in Special Olympics Wales and Great Britain Judo competitions, sponsored walks, fun runs and half marathons.

He said: “I have family members with heart problems, diabetes and other medical issues, so I wanted to fundraise for the BHF as well as giving back by volunteering in the shop.”

For Ben, volunteering has helped him with his mental health and wellbeing. He said: “I started working for the BHF in August 2020. I didn’t really do much when I first started, but I have now become someone who can do things that I wouldn’t do before because I was scared.”

Ben’s self-confidence has grown through volunteering, and he now enjoys operating the till, doing store administration and answering the phone, something which had previously been a challenge for him.

Ben said: “My biggest fear was answering the shop phone to customers as I didn’t know who was on the other end of the phone. I started battling my fears and one day when the phone was ringing, I just went up and answered it.”

Cardiff Half Marathon 2022

Ben is planning to run the Cardiff Half Marathon in person next year with colleagues supporting him along the way.

Lawrence Turner, area manager for the BHF Cwmbran shop,  said: “Ben is typical of the fantastic people we have volunteering in our shops across Wales. He has such a positive spirit and enthusiasm for the work the BHF delivers in funding life saving research into heart and circulatory diseases. We simply couldn’t do what we do without people like Ben.”

Volunteer for the BHF

Visit the BHF website and check out opportunities to volunteer.

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Cwmbran volunteer raised £240 for British Heart Foundation