A member of F1’s Mercedes team is running the London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK, in memory of his grandfather.
Keen runner Ben Cowley, 29, lost his grandfather John Backley in 2015 at the age of 85.
John, who was originally from Westerham, Kent, but had been living in Chigwell, Essex, for several decades, ran a shipping business and had been living with Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years.
Ben, who is Head of Content for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Team and lives in Twickenham, London, said: “Losing my grandfather 18 months ago hit me really hard.
“We’re a big family and we’re all very close. He had a lot of grandkids and was a huge part of our lives – especially in our early years, teaching us how to play different sports and card games.
“He absolutely loved the races. Every year he would take us all to Royal Ascot, usually on Ladies’ Day. Being the bold character that he was, he loved to be the centre of attention when we were all together – particularly at the bandstand! It was rare to have us all in one place at the same time, so those days were really special and gave us some wonderful memories.
“I’m running the marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK because, having witnessed the effects dementia can have on someone so dear to me, I want to do anything I can to help prevent others having to see their loved ones endure the same thing.
“I’ve already had a lot of support from my family, friends and colleagues and I’m really looking forward to going out there on the day and hopefully doing them – and, of course, my granddad – proud.”
Ben, who is originally from Hildenborough, Kent, is training regularly in between his busy job with the Mercedes team, which includes working with British driver Lewis Hamilton and Finn Valtteri Bottas.
He has already raised £1,500 of his £3,000 target and is hoping his colleagues from across the Grand Prix paddock will be feeling generous after winning the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship for the third season in a row last year.
Kenneth Foreman, Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We can’t thank Ben enough for his ongoing fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK and we’re thrilled to see he’s already raised so much for us ahead of the marathon.
“In the UK there are 850,000 people living with dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the way to find treatments and preventions for dementia, which couldn’t be done without our generous supporters like Ben.”
To donate to Ben’s page, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/bencowley64