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Stratford headmaster's fundraiser is a grim ordeal

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WHEN you sign up for a Grim Challenge, you know it’s not going to be easy. But King Edward VI School headmaster Bennet Carr showed true grit when he took on the eight-mile off-road course, including dozens of icy water holes, located at the Army Tank Training Ground in Aldershot.

Bennet Carr (53684686)
Bennet Carr (53684686)

To complete the course, competitors had to run and crawl through mud and water in freezing conditions.

This wouldn’t be many people’s idea of a good birthday, but it was Mr Carr’s belated present to himself having run the race just two days prior to his 51st birthday. He’d actually wanted to do the challenge to mark his 50th birthday – having run the race ten years before on his 40th - but last year’s event was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Mr Carr took on the gruelling challenge to raise money in memory of Joseph Harris, a former KES student who was killed, aged 21, in a car accident while working on a gap year in South Africa in 2017.

So far, Mr Carr has raised £890 of the £1,000 target he set himself for the Beer-Harris Memorial Trust, a charity that awards grants and promotes well-being among people who suffer from mental illness. It was a cause that Joseph had been passionate about.

Joe Harris in South Africa (53686352)
Joe Harris in South Africa (53686352)

Recalling the much-missed student, Mr Carr said: “Joe was a lovely pupil. I was touched to be asked by the family to speak at his funeral.

“The school has formed a close and ongoing relationship with Joe’s family. I wanted to raise awareness about the trust and mental health issues in young people which is so important. I had intended doing the Shakespeare Half Marathon but it got cancelled so I raised money for the trust by running 52 laps around the school instead.”

Mr Carr added: “The Grim Challenge involved running up and down hills and splashing through 100 icy water holes, but it was worth it for such a crucial cause especially when young people’s mental health suffered during lockdown.”

An evening of entertainment is also planned at KES next year to support the Beer-Harris Memorial Trust.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com and search for Bennet Carr BHMT Fundraising.

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