Although the St Bede’s CanTeen Run for Life is definitely a team rather than an individual effort, there are some who literally go the extra mile for the cause. Mr Ben Lewis and Mr Andrew McDonald are two such inspirational men, who were invited to the College assembly on the 3rd September in the build up to the 2009 run. They received a warm and lengthy ovation when introduced by Alex Finnigan:
We invited back Ben Lewis from the Lions, commonly known as the ‘tractor man’. On all three CanTeen projects Ben (well over 70 years old) drove his tractor, which is as old as him, through the towns of South Canterbury collecting money – he blocked bridges to allow our runners safe passage and charged a bridge toll to add to the coffers!
Boys on the Cromwell leg have told us how they were running exhausted until they heard the puff of Ben’s tractor; a noise that boosted them and told them that the tractor man was there. That was enough of a boost them for them to run another 5 kms– then he drove past handing out chocolate to keep them going.
Last time he organised 700 lunches for our runners. This year we have taken on two more legs. And so has Ben Lewis. When he leaves here today he will continue to organise the lunches for 25 people on 8 legs for 5 days. That equates to 1000 lunches, none of which are being charged to the CanTeen Run. But he doesn’t stop there – already Ben Lewis has collection buckets out around the streets of Sth Canterbury. And he didn’t even have a connection with St Bede’s – that was until 2004 when he was made an Honorary Bedean and presented with a St Bede’s tie at the CanTeen assembly.
In 2002 St Bede’s College instigated the ‘Run For A life ‘ Campaign’. That year, a man named Andrew McDonald joined our campaign.
- Did he have any connection to St Bede’s ? No.
- Did he just recognise a worthy cause when he saw it? Yes.
- Did he participate in the run? Yes!
- Did he do it alone? No, because without the help of a friend he would not have been able to – this friend was his guide dog.
Andrew McDonald, again a man who has no connection with St Bede’s, has recognised a worthy cause and supported it. Andrew is nearly totally blind, and so runs with the support of his guide dog.
If we think back to why we are here, to follow the example set by Jesus and to follow his teachings, surely Ben Lewis and Andrew McDonald are showing us how to ‘love your neighbour’.