Hero Ray is a top fundraiser

Hero Ray is a top fundraiser

Ray Collins collected £28,000 after his big decathlon fun day earlier this month

Ray in action during the first event with Mayor of Wantage Councillor Charlotte Dickson

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

IT took charity fundraiser Ray Collins six years to raise £30,000 for good causes in a series of annual endurance challenges.

But now the 42-year-old from Wantage has nearly doubled that total, after just one day.

A total of £28,000 has been donated to local causes following Ray’s Decathlon Fun Day on Sunday, July 1.

The Olympic themed event saw the Market Place closed off to traffic , with Mr Collins taking on a range of fitness challenges from cycling 40km on an exercise bike to running 1,500m.

The town centre also played host to other sports events, charity stalls, food and live music.

More than 120 people took part in Ray’s Race for Life event as part of the day, raising a total of £2,500 each for Cancer Research UK and Sobell House .

But after the inaugural event’s success, the former Icknield School pupil said the town council had asked him to do it again next year.

Mr Collins said: “It was fantastic to see everyone smiling and enjoying the day. We are definitely going to make it an annual event.

“It has been received phenomenally well. I was a bit nervous as I had never done anything like this before because it’s a big event.

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“But everyone that came was filled with praise for it.”

Mr Collins, of Springfield Road, said the event might be more of a carnival next year with more involvement from schools.

But he said the ultimate goal would never change, adding: “It is just local people helping local people.

“That’s what they have been about since day one and that is what they will always be about.”

Mr Collins, who works at electrical firm PB Ledbury’s in Grove Street, has already donated £2,000 to Wantage Independent Advice Centre and he and a team of volunteers will use some of the remaining cash to redecorate Wantage Day Centre in October.

But he said he was looking at other local causes to help spend the money.

He said: “We are trying to spread it out as much as we can as a few hundred quid can make a real difference.”

The event cost £6,000 to organise and host, but Mr Collins said a lot of that could be used next year.

And the total also includes a substantial but undisclosed donation from Sovereign Vale Housing.

Wantage Town Mayor Charlotte Dickson, who took part in Ray’s Race for Life, said: “It is brilliant. He is a complete hero.

“I saw the amount he has raised and I couldn’t believe it.”

She added: “If Ray has got the stamina to organise it again we would really support it.

“There are lots of new people coming to Wantage and it really shows the spirit in the town and how everyone comes together for charity.”

In the last six years Mr Collins has raised money for Fitzwaryn School, Diabetes UK, Oxford Children’s Hospital, Oxford’s Helen and Douglas House, The October Club, and Grove day centres.

His challenges have included an 80-mile walk around the town and a 24-hour marathon gym session.

Mr Collins thanked the town council for their help in organising the event.

Ray's achievements

  • 2006: 12 hours non-stop on a cross trainer
  • 2007: Iron Man – 2.4-mile row, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run
  • 2008: 24-hour workout in the gym.
  • 2009: Quadruple triathlon – 6k row, 10k run, 40k bike
  • 2010: 80-mile walk around town and villages non-stop for 24 hours
  • 2011: 24-hour non-stop workout in the gym

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