Denham Lodge, 5950, raised a fantastic £340 on the Grand National weekend of 8th April and members of Observatory Lodge, 6094, raised a further £190 during the summer recess.
The two Lodges got together and have donated the money to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society on behalf of W.Bro Steve Howes' partner Amanda's son Ben through Justgiving.
There aren’t many twenty-somethings willing to get out of bed at 4am on a Sunday morning. But, imagine this: Your mum has MS and you know you weren’t supposed to have been born because she was advised not to have children – you’re just very glad she did!
Ben Hames has only ever known his mum with MS. His mum Amanda, is the partner of W.Bro Steve Howes, of Observatory Lodge, and has fought the condition for over 25 years, with the valuable help of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Ben, an apprentice mechanical technician at a small, international chemical refining company in Southampton, is also a keen cyclist. When a cycling event and the opportunity to raise money for the MS Society presented itself, Ben obviously thought it was worth getting out of bed for.
“Doing the RideLondon 100 mile challenge was my way of saying thanks for supporting my mum,” said Ben. “Away from work, a majority of my time is spent cycling, whether out on my own for training, or with my cycling club, with whom I regularly compete in events and races.”
Speaking to Ben it soon becomes clear he’s no stranger to early mornings or long hours of work: “Every morning at 6:30 am I head out the door, with my bicycle, and cycle the 15 miles to work. The only exception is when we have shut down periods. I then work a 12-hour shift to reduce downtime, and this means I get up at 3:45 am and return home around 7:00 pm.”
Ben is doing an advanced apprenticeship; this means that instead of just achieving his BTEC he will go on to complete an HNC in engineering. On top of all of this he is also completing an NVQ.
Ben said; “Being mechanically minded, I carry out all the maintenance and servicing on my bicycles and car myself.” This has included some serious ‘upgrading’ to his road bike.
“I’m also a member of the Portsmouth and Southampton Mini Owners Club. I regularly attend various Mini events and classic car shows across the South, the most recent of which was a day trip to the Isle of Wight.”
Needless to say, Ben’s mum is immensely proud of him:
“He finished the ride and still managed a smile! He looked like he’d come up from a coal mine though, as all the muck thrown up from the road seemed to deposit itself on his face.
He completed the ride in 4:10 hrs. This was a fantastic achievement as the weather conditions were terrible for the first half of the ride. Although disappointed he didn’t make the 100 miles in under four hours he was happy to do it within a minute of last years’ time of 4:09 hrs when the weather was perfect."
To say I am proud of him and the lovely support of the Lodges would be the understatement of the year.”
Concord thinks Ben Hames will go far – with or without wheels – and that he'll make a fine Freemason when the time's right! He’s also going to do the ride again next year and aims to be under 4 hours for the ride. Look out for his JustGiving page if you’d like to sponsor him.