Charities back veteran Black Country fundraiser ahead of daunting challenge

Four local charities have backed a veteran fundraiser as he prepares to mark his 80th birthday with an 80x80 challenge.

Getting ready for his 80x80 Challenge, Alan Jones-Bratt, aged 79
Getting ready for his 80x80 Challenge, Alan Jones-Bratt, aged 79

West Bromwich Albion supporter Alan Jones-Bratt, from Wilden, near Stourport, was described as "a truly inspirational character" ahead of his planned 80-mile walk over four days in September

That coming after he completes 80 golf holes, 80 ends of indoor and 80 ends of outdoor bowls during August.

After setting himself such a daunting challenge Alan, who was born and bred in the Black Country, has also set himself the formidable fundraising goal of £80,000.

The money raised by his AJB 80x80 Challenge will be divided between the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), Diabetes UK, Prostate Cancer UK, and the Alzheimer's Society.

He has family reasons to support all four charities following the deaths of his brothers Dennis, Stan, Don and Ivan.

Alan is hoping he has enough puff left to blow out the candles on his birthday cake on September 9, after he embarks on probably the most gruelling part of his challenge when he walks 20 miles a day over four days on various routes in Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire.

"Having previously ventured on several long distance running adventures with my late brother Don in the mid-1980s raising funds for charities, I decided I would try to create a worthy challenge based on an 80x80 theme and to make this my final major charity fundraising event before retiring to the rocking chair," said Alan.

Peter Shorrick, head of Midlands and east region at Diabetes UK, said: "Thank you so much Alan for taking on this immense challenge to support Diabetes UK and the other charities.

"We wish you the best of luck and thank you for selflessly supporting our work as you celebrate your 80th birthday. Our supporters really are the heartbeat of the charity."

Anita Sharma-James, of MNDA, added: "The Worcestershire & Herefordshire Group of the Motor Neurone Disease Association can’t thank Alan enough for his support following a period of dwindling funds due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"He is a truly inspirational character and his forthcoming ABJ 80 x 80 Challenge is a testament to his selfless determination to make a difference to the lives of others as he celebrates his 80th birthday.

“Our members look forward to joining and supporting him as bowls, golfs and walks his way to his fundraising goals over two weeks starting in August.

"In the meantime, we send him our very best for his training and preparation."

Alan's bowls challenges will be taking place at Malvern Hills Indoor Bowls Club (August 22), Stourport Bowling Green (August 23), St Dunstan's Bowling Club (August 24) and Bromsgrove Indoor Bowls Club (August 25).

His golf challenge takes place at Wharton Park Golf Club (August 29), Ombersley Golf Club (August 31) and Bewdley Pines Golf Club (September 2).

Emma Butler from the Alzheimer's Society said: "Alzheimer’s Society has a significant role to play in supporting not only those with dementia but also their families and carers.

"We rely on the generosity of individuals like Alan Jones-Bratt to enable our charity to continue its work.

"The support from Alan is fantastic, not only raising money but also helping us in our aim to raise awareness about dementia and we are really grateful for his support."

The first of Alan's walks is scheduled for September 4 when he plans to follow the route of the Bridgnorth Walk, from Bridgnorth to Shropshire's highest point, the Brown Clee hill, and back.

Then on September 5 he will walk 20 miles across Cannock Chase, followed on September 6 with 20 miles of the Worcestershire Way. Finally he plans to tackle 20 miles of the Millennium Way in Warwickshire on September 7.

To support or attend the AJB 80x80 Challenge events visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/alan-jones-bratt website or email ajb.42@btinternet.com

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