Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Memorial walk raises record sum for Mayor's charities

A local group have raised a record sum of £9,000 for local charities after climbing Ben Nevis.

Dudley MP Ian Austin completed the second annual climb in honour of Dudley hero Bert Bissell with a team including Bert’s lifelong friend Astley Blake who now runs the Bible Class he established, Dudley Mayor Steve Waltho and his wife Jayne Waltho, Deputy Mayor Mohammed Hanif local councillors Dave Tyler and Keiran Casey, local businessmen Damian Corfield and Shaz Saleem, and local fundraisers Sarah Alliband and Stephen Rayner.

The group will be celebrating their success at the Mayor’s Parlour in Dudley Council House at 12pm on Friday 16th October.

Bert Bissell (1902-1998) founded the Young Men's Bible Class at Vicar Street in Dudley. He lived at Selborne Road. He was a probation officer and climbed Ben Nevis on VJ Day in 1945 and many times afterwards, constructing a Peace Cairn at its summit. There is a monument to Bert at Coronation Gardens opposite the Council House.

Bert was a friend of the Austin family and someone the MP knew well as a child.

The money raised by the walk will be split between the Mayor of Dudley’s charities which are the Hope Centre in Halesowen, The What Centre in Stourbridge, More Mascots Please in Brierley Hill which supports disabled children and their families, the Georgina Unit at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, and the West Midlands branch of Lupus UK which is based in Coseley.

Ian Austin said:
“We’ve been overwhelmed by local people’s generosity, it goes to show the enduring legacy of Bert’s work in the community.

“He was a great friend of my family and I remember him well. He was a legendary figure and an inspiration to so many of us. I’m hoping that our memorial walk will grow and grow in the years to come.

“I’m really grateful to everyone who made a donation, I know this will make a big difference to local charities.”

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