A TEENAGER who has trekked across Scotland and climbed a volcano has been given an award.

Ben Atkin, a 16-year-old animal lover who volunteers in the Blue Cross shop in Pershore, has been awarded ‘Blue Cross Ambassador of the Year’ by the charity. Ben received a special trophy to mark his outstanding efforts with both helping in the local Blue Cross shop and his ambitious fundraising activities.

In 2017, Ben sacrificed a chunk of his summer school holidays to do a gruelling eight-day challenge to raise funds for Blue Cross. He hiked over 200 miles across the breadth of Scotland, the equivalent of a marathon a day. Accompanied by his father, Ian, Ben aimed to raise £400 but ended up receiving over £1,900 in support.

Last year Ben set out on a new challenge – to climb the oldest extinct volcano in East Africa. Mount Elgon is on the Uganda Kenyan border and stands at over 14,000ft high.

He achieved this despite only having his appendix removed the month before. Again, he exceeded his target of £500 and raised over £1,100.

In August this year Ben will attempt to run the 135km along Hadrian’s Wall. Running for over 30km a day he aims to complete the coast to coast challenge in just four days.

Liz Martin, assistant manager at the Blue Cross Pershore Shop said: “Ben truly deserves to be the Blue Cross Ambassador of the Year and we couldn’t be more proud of him. He is a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer in the shop, always willing to help out and a valued member of the team. We hope animal lovers get behind him and show their support by donating to this brave new challenge.”

Ben has volunteered with Blue Cross since he was 14-years-old. He helps in the Pershore shop by sorting out donated stock, filling shelves and checking DVDs and computer games for damage before they go on sale. He also steps in to wear heavy pet mascot costumes on shop open days.

To support Ben’s 2019 challenge and make a donation visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-atkin3.

To find out more about the work of Blue Cross visit bluecross.org.uk.

Blue Cross is an animal welfare charity in the UK. The charity provides support for pet owners who cannot afford private veterinary treatment, helps to find homes for unwanted animals, and educates the public in the responsibilities of animal ownership.