Shipston man's challenge a tribute to fallen friend

By IH 14/02 Updated: 14/02 14:01

Buy photos » Marine David Fairbrother. (s)

IT was a tough challenge but Ben Fry was determined to complete it in honour of fallen Royal Marine and best friend, David Fairbrother.

Ben, from Shipston, joined forces with friends from Leeds University Skydiving Club to take on the ToughGuy 2012 challenge in memory of his best friend, Marine David Fairbrother, who was killed in Afghanistan in September last year.

Marine Fairbrother of 42 Commando, Kilo Company was leading a foot patrol in Helmand Province in search of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) assisting the Afghan National Army. Two hours into the patrol, the troop came under attack from close range fire and 24-year-old David, who was five months into his six month tour, received a shot to the head. Despite best efforts from the team medic, David was pronounced dead on arrival at Camp Bastion 20 minutes later.

Renowned for being ‘the safest most dangerous event in the World’, ToughGuy comprises of an eight mile cross country run through an ‘ assault course’ with over 75 obstacles, where contenders face barbed wire, burns, electric shocks, claustrophobia, acrophobia and dehydration. Freezing weather conditions also brings with it the severe risk and fear of hypothermia, making the finish line even harder to reach.

And this year’s event on January 29 was no exception.

Dressed as fairies to mimic David’s high school nickname, 24-year-old Ben and the team completed the course in three hours 17 minutes and to date, have raised over £4,600 for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF) - a charity that was very close to David’s heart.

Ben said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better friend than Dave. We became friends in our first year at Leeds University and ever since, nicknamed ‘Bave’, shared a passion for skydiving, scuba diving, travelling and more recently, motorbikes. The memory of his mum calling to break the news is one that will haunt me forever.

“I’ve never been one for sports or athletics and the idea of ever taking part in ToughGuy was always laughable. Dave completed ToughGuy on three occasions - once as a smurf, once as a life guard and once in only a Borat-style mankini - and I thought he was mad.

"Knowing that I was doing this for such a good cause and in honour of my best friend and soul mate, I was determined to finish it. I’ve never been so cold in my life and it was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

“I’m so grateful for all the support and sponsorship I’ve received in taking on ToughGuy. It feels great knowing that I’ve been able to do something both in Dave’s honour and for such a great cause."

Ben thanked all those who donated to his effort.

Buy photos» The 'fairies' ready for the off. (s)
Buy photos» The end. (s)
Buy photos» Soldiering on. (s)

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