Mon dieu! They made it to the Eiffel Tower…

By Zoe Hyett

Last week, Ben Allen travelled through every type of weather imaginable (apart from snow thankfully!) on his second triumphant Imperial March. Accompanied by his trusty team and dressed in his full Stormtrooper armour, Ben walked from Cowes on the Isle of Wight to The Eiffel Tower.

The incredible feat took him and his team nine days and he arrived safely in Paris at around 2pm on Sunday (6th May). Ben and co were greeted with a hero’s welcome by Wightfibre CEO John Irvine and their family and friends that had travelled out (the conventional way) to meet them. There were emotional scenes upon Ben’s safe arrival and he was promptly showered with champagne – a welcome way to cool down in the Bank Holiday heat. (Photos below Courtesy of Charles Abbatucci Photography – image to enlarge)

Ben’s Imperial March actually took place over Star Wars Day this year – May the 4th (‘may the force’) and whether this was sheer luck or cunning planning, Ben featured in several news reports on the day, most notably the One Show on BBC One in the evening!

Ben has now had time to gather his thoughts and rest his feet and took to Facebook to thank his supporters…

“After an amazing week, I’m home to my family. I’m shattered and full of emotion but filled with a huge sense of purpose. This time last week, I was walking in sideways sleet and rain in 2 degrees across a Country I barely knew, shivering, I couldn’t feel my hands, wet through and feeling utterly miserable. But the thought of helping those in need and getting back to my own children is what kept me going.  Now I’ve had time to reflect I just can’t put into words yet, how I feel about it all, but mainly proud. Proud to represent an amazing charity in the Layla’s Trust, proud to have 4 friends who have stood with me through it all like brothers and actually proud of myself for seeing it through. I genuinely thought we’d bitten off more than we could chew, but no, the team and I bloody smashed it.

Thank you to all our sponsors and to all who donated, without you we wouldn’t have been able to pull off this crazy adventure. BUT PLEASE it doesn’t end here, you can still donate, whether it’s £2 or £20 it doesn’t matter, head to
mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/bensimperialmarch2 
and do it.

Thanks again from Simon, Matt, Y T, Steve and I and may the force be with you.” – Ben Allen, Stormtrooper & Fundraiser

 

In 2016, Ben Allen and his support team, Simon Cherry and Matthew Mew, walked from the Isle of Wight to London to raise money for the Joe Ellis Trust. After a year’s break, Ben and his team came back and this time they were raising money for Layla’s Trust, for which they smashed this year’s target of £4000.

The total money raised to date is £5,181.29 (11/05/2018) and you can still pledge until the 6th of June. Donations will go to Layla’s Trust, which supports the Isle of Wight’s bereaved families (and those who find themselves unexpectedly in hospital) in the name of little Layla Cotter, who died aged just 70 days old.