Raised £666,568

Southern Communications sponsor Benali's Big Race

September 29th 2016 | News

Francis Benali’s charity challenge has received a massive boost from Southern Communications.

The Hampshire-based phone systems company have been announced as the title sponsor for Benali’s Big Race.

The 47-year-old will be running and cycling to all 44 Premier League and Championship clubs to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It will mean running a full marathon and then riding 75 miles every day for two weeks.

Benali said: “Quite apart from the physical and mental battles I will face, it is also a logistical nightmare to set up. And there are a lot of costs involved.

“I need a physio and medical back-up the whole time as well as a support team to carry a spare bike and sort out the route and equipment, accommodation and meet-and-greets at each stadium as well as publicity and all sorts of other things.

“It is a very expensive thing to do so I am very grateful to Southern Communications for coming on board and making such a generous contribution.

“With the support of Southern Communications and the likes of Jellyfish Livewire, Ordnance Survey, Under Armour, Bloc Design, Hargroves Cycles, Maxx media and physio Kelly Rutledge we have just about covered our costs.

“That means all the donations will go directly to Cancer Research UK to fund immunotherapy research across the country. Without the backing of our sponsors, that could not happen so I hope people will support them in return.”

Southern Communications are based in Basingstoke but have offices in Bristol, Warrington and London selling phone systems sell voice and data communication solutions to businesses across the UK.

CEO Paul Bradford said: “This works both nationally and locally for us. Firstly it gives us nationwide exposure but also it is a way of supporting one of our own – and a really worthwhile cause.

“I am a lifelong Saints fan. I used to watch Francis Benali from the terraces and I would shudder at some of his tackles. Yet off the pitch he is the nicest and most gentle man you could wish to meet and this charity challenge sums him up.

“It is an incredible feat to put himself through this much pain and exhaustion but it will make a real difference to the charity and we are proud to be supporting it.

“It is a way for us to give something back to the community and also to show our support for an absolute legend. That term is often used way too easily but what Franny is doing is absolutely incredible.

“I thought his first challenge – running to every Premier League ground in three weeks – was impossible but this takes it up another notch or two. He is adding an extra discipline and 24 more clubs and cutting the time by a third! I am full of admiration for him and a passionate believer in the cause.

“There cannot be a family in the country which has not been touched by cancer and we want to do all we can to help win the battle against this wretched disease.”

Dr Áine McCarthy, Senior Science Information Officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “We are very grateful for Southern Communications’ contribution which will ensure that all the donations will go directly to fund vital research.

“Immunotherapy drugs are showing great promise for a lot of different types of cancer, but more research is needed to figure out which cancers these drugs can be used to treat, and which patients are most likely to benefit from them.

“The money that Franny’s raising for Cancer Research UK’s work into immunotherapy, including work being done in Southampton, will help us answer these questions sooner and ultimately, help more people survive the disease.”

To donate simply text Fran to 70200 to give £5.