Crawley Man to Compete in Brighton Marathon to Help Save Orangutans

A man from Crawley is to compete in the Brighton Marathon to help Uckfield charity save orangutans.

IARRob Groves from Crawley will be competing in the Brighton Marathon on 14 April 2019 to raise funds for critically endangered orangutans. Rob, who is a wheelchair user, was profoundly affected by the Iceland Christmas TV advert which depicted the desperate plight of the species. As a passionate animal lover and veteran charity fundraiser, he was determined to do something to help.

Rob has chosen to support the orangutan conservation project of Uckfield-based International Animal Rescue (IAR.) IAR rescues and rehabilitates orangutans in Borneo before reintroducing them into protected areas of forest. The charity also carries out landscape conservation work, replanting areas of forest that have been destroyed by fire to restore precious natural habitat for orangutans, other wildlife and local rural communities.

With six weeks still to go, Rob has already raised nearly £2000 of his £5,000 target. Phily Kennington, IAR’s Community Fundraising Manager, says: “Rob’s determination not to let his disability hold him back when it comes to tackling huge physical and mental challenges like the marathon is absolutely inspiring. He has supported numerous other worthy causes in the past and we are privileged that on this occasion he is raising funds for IAR’s orangutan project.”
Rob was part paralysed in 2006 at the age of fifty. “Facing a life in a wheelchair, I chose to fight preconceived ideas of just what was possible for someone who could feel nothing below their waist. There began my story and the beginning of an extraordinary new life,” he explains.

“I love to be active outdoors, to figure out ways around challenges and to share special experiences and journeys with friends and people from all walks of life. Life has taught me the importance of holding on tight to belief, and never, ever giving up.”

On his JustGiving page Rob explains how passionate he is about animals, stating: “I will do anything to raise awareness of animal cruelty today. I love promoting the fact that animals never need to suffer for our survival. And if I have to do this crazy marathon of madness, then here we go!
“Although the marathon is long and will no doubt be painful, it’s nothing compared to the pain and suffering endured by so many defenceless animals in the world today.”
On the day of the marathon Rob will be competing in the marathon dressed as Chewbacca, the fictional hairy Star Wars character who bears a strong likeness to an orangutan, further testament to his commitment and dedication.

 Alan Knight OBE, IAR Chief Executive said : “We can’t thank Rob enough for taking on this challenge which is going to be a real test of his strength and stamina. We are all full of admiration for his courage and determination and will be cheering him on every step of the way.
“People like Rob make our work possible. At International Animal Rescue we rely entirely on donations from individuals and grant-making bodies to fund our work and we are so grateful to fundraisers like Rob who go to such huge lengths to help us. He is a real animal hero in our eyes!”

To support Rob’s heroic effort click here