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James and Simon launch ‘green commute’ charity challenge in memory of much-loved colleague

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Colleagues, clients and friends of Harrison Drury are invited to get involved in an ambitious run and cycle to work event created by two of our partners to raise money in memory of a former colleague.

Simon England and James Robbins came up with the idea to run and cycle between each Harrison Drury office in 2016 to honour Dominic Hester, who died from a brain tumour the previous year.

The pair will now complete the 180-mile challenge over five days this August to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity – a cause that’s became more poignant after their respective fathers both also passed away from the same illness in recent years.

The event also hopes to raise awareness of the environmental and wider wellbeing benefits of using more sustainable methods of commuting to and from work.

“This has been a long time in the making,” said Simon, who has run two marathons but confesses to not enjoying running anything further than half-marathon distance. “Since we came up with the idea in 2016, we’ve opened two more offices, so James and I said we better do this now before there’s any further office openings and we have to cover even more miles.”

The gruelling 180-mile route

The challenge has been named the Great Green Commute and will see Simon and James start their week by cycling the 43 miles between the Clitheroe and Kendal offices.

The next day they will run more than marathon distance with the 26.5 miles between the Kendal and Lancaster offices. A 14.4-mile run awaits them on the Wednesday as they make their way to the Garstang office. They’ll then get back on the bike to cover the 34 miles to Preston via the Lytham office.

The final two legs involve an almost 18-mile run back to Clitheroe, before they finish off with a 39-mile hike to the Manchester office.

“It’s going to be really tough,” added James, who has completed a number of running challenges, including the Pyongyang marathon in North Korea in memory of his father. “But we know we’ll have the support of our colleagues, who can hopefully cover some of the distance with us, or at least meet us along the way to hand out sweets and tell us to hurry up!”

Dominic, a father of three who lived in Chipping, was 45 when he passed away in 2015, just 13-months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was managing partner of Clitheroe law firm, DLH Solicitors, which had merged with Harrison Drury.

Talking about the Great Green Commute challenge, Dominic’s widow, Kate Eveson, said: “I’m so thankful to Simon and James for doing this challenge for The Brain Tumour Charity. It makes me feel that people do remember Dominic and the kind of person he was. He would absolutely love this too and would definitely be doing it himself if he were here. He was always very active with his running and cycling – he cycled to the office in Clitheroe from Chipping every day.”

Kate, who has taken part several fundraising events herself to support the charity, including a trek in Iceland a few years ago, adds. “It’s such an underfunded area of cancer research, which is shocking when you look at the stats and realise it affects more children and young adults under 40 than any other cancer.

“The treatments for brain tumours haven’t really progressed for decades, but The Brain Tumour Charity is changing that, leading on new research into brain tumours. Anything people can do to support the charity is thoroughly appreciated by all of us who have been affected by this illness.”

“We’re determined to do this.”

Both James and Simon attest to the importance of the support provided by the charity following their own experiences in dealing with the impacts of brain tumours.

James’s father, Bob, died in 2017 at the age of 67 and Simon’s dad, Alfie, passed away aged 79 in 2022. Both James and Simon tell a similar story of their otherwise healthy dads starting to do uncharacteristic things, like having a fall or spilling a drink in the weeks before being diagnosed.

Simon said: “Dominic was our original inspiration for doing this. We wanted to do something to raise money in his memory and that’s how the idea was born. However, as it so often does, life just got in the way – work, family and so on. It’s one of life’s weird coincidences that both our dads also died from brain tumours and that’s only made us more determined to do this.”

James added: “I previously raised money for Pendleside Hospice which cared for my dad in his final weeks by doing the marathon in North Korea in 2019 and I’m very grateful for all the support I received then.

“Simon and I really wanted to do something to support The Brain Tumour Charity too because it does so much to help people who have been diagnosed, as well as world-leading research into causes and treatments for brain tumours.”

Simon added: “We’d be incredibly grateful to anyone who wants to sponsor us, but we’re also looking for people to support us by getting involved in the Great Green Commute too, perhaps walking, running, cycling or getting sustainable transport to work during the week of our challenge. The environmental benefits, and of course the health and wellbeing benefits, are huge.”

Harrison Drury’s Great Green Commute will take place during the week of 12-16th August. To donate to The Brain Tumour Charity, go to James and Simon’s Just Giving page.


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