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by Warwickshire CCC & Cricket World Monday 11 May 2020
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and the NSPCC's Childline service in the city will benefit from funds raised by more than 40 Bears employees undertaking challenges from running to baking and intensive workouts to household chores.
The brainchild of Warwickshire CCC safety officer David Clarke, the collective effort, which will last throughout May, has truly brought together the great 'Bears family' - and the value of that effort stretches far beyond the fundraising.
The benefits are also being felt by the participants themselves as everyone contends with the unprecedented pressures and challenges of lockdown,
"The reaction from people throughout the club has been overwhelming." said David Clarke, who is cycling 260 miles as part of the challenge.
"The way people have got involved is brilliant on so many levels. It is raising money for two great causes but also keeping people connected during this tough time and keeping them fit.
"Perhaps most of all it has shown how close and fantastic the Bears family is. People have got involved to do something to help others. This is a tough time for everyone but the banter has been great...though some of it is unprintable. We are in a sporting environment and some of the guys are pretty competitive!"
The 2.6 challenge was created to help fill the fundraising and training void created by the postponement of the London Marathon due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Warwickshire staff are taking on various challenges. many based around running. The initial objective was to run a combined 1,882 kilometres but that target will be far surpassed.
The club's Digital Media Manager Mat Collis assembled a group of runners from the back-room staff while Head of Media Tom Rawlings is running 26.2 miles each week.
Events team member Ros Wilson is walking 2.6 miles and also made 26 cup-cakes which went to a local care home.
First-team coach Jim Troughton performed 26 iconic goal celebrations and one of the greatest Bears of all, Dennis Amiss, has joined in by carrying out household chores for 26 days.
Warwickshire Sport Director Paul Farbrace said: "The way the club and the Bears family has come together for the 2.6 Challenge is truly inspiring.
“First and foremost, two great causes will benefit from the funds raised, but it has been wonderful to see people coming together in this way even though physically they have to stay apart."
Warwickshire's involvement in the 2.6 challenge it is part of their wider community engagement programme during lockdown.
This has seen Bears players phone elderly members and record birthday messages to Junior Bears while its NHS Heroes campaign has sent bats signed by the playing squad to a number of NHS staff.
The car park at Edgbaston Stadium has been donated to the Department of Health and Social Care to be a COVID-19 drive-through test centre while the Bears' official charity, the Edgbaston Foundation, has struck a partnership with local charity Thrive Together Birmingham to use stadium as a food sorting and distribution centre to support local foodbanks and community groups.
Donations to the Bears 2.6 Challenge can be made at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/Bears4
Warwickshire County Cricket Club