Father and son join forces to help children in Africa

Father and son Phil and Ben Clarke after finishing the London Marathon
Father and son Phil and Ben Clarke after finishing the London Marathon

When he was ten, Ben Clarke helped his father train for the London Marathon by cycling alongside him.

As he grew up, he yearned to run the marathon himself one day.

This year, at the age of 19, he had the chance – and dad Phil Clarke was there too, running alongside him.

The father and son team, of Carron Lane, Midhurst, are supporting the charity AbleChildAfrica, which helps disabled children and young people, and have raised nearly £1,500 so far.

Phil said: “We chose this charity after my son went on a school trip with local company True Adventure and we’re still raising money for them

“Ben visited Tanzania in 2013, helping to paint a school and working with young African people.

“He enjoyed his time there and the opportunity to help disadvantaged young people in Africa really resonated, so the experience stuck with him.

“We were keen to run in the 2017 London Marathon and AbleChildAfrica had places available, which struck a chord with Ben.

“We were both really excited to be both running such an amazing marathon and raising money for such a worthwhile charity. This was my second marathon and Ben’s first and we had ambitious time targets and an ambitious fundraising target.

“After many months of training and fundraising, Ben finished the race in three hours 14 minutes and I finished in four hours 14 minutes, 15 minutes faster than my 2008 time.”

Phil first started running about 15 years ago and Ben helped him train for his first London Marathon, usually on his bike with his brother as Phil went on his weekly long runs.

This time, they hope to achieve their target of £3,000 for AbleChildAfrica before the fundraising window closes at June 30.

The UK-based charity works with and alongside five partner organisations in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to achieve equal rights for disabled children and young people. The children they work with are some of the world’s most vulnerable and the aim is to ensure every disabled child can reach their fullest potential.

The charity supports partner organisations to carry out life-changing work and works alongside them to use their experiences to campaign for more widespread change.

Visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jog--on to make a donation.