Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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MP launches second annual charity Ben Nevis challenge

Dudley MP Ian Austin is launching the second annual Bert Bissell Memorial Walk for local good causes.

A second annual climb of Ben Nevis is being launched to honour Dudley mountaineer, local hero, peace campaigner and charity fundraiser Bert Bissell and raise funds for local charities.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin, Bert’s lifelong friend Astley Blake who now runs the Bible Class he established, Dudley Mayor Steve Waltho, local councillors Dave Tyler and Keiran Casey will be among the team heading to Scotland for the climb on August 4th.

There will be a photo opportunity with the group at the Mayor’s Parlour, Dudley Council House, Priory Road, DY1 1HF at 1pm on Thursday 9 July.

The trek follows a successful climb last August that raised £4,600 for good causes in Dudley including Action Heart, Guide Dogs, the Children’s Unit at Russells Hall, the local Royal British Legion and Black Country Fast Aid to support local ambulances.

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.

All funds raised will go to the Mayor’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.

Anyone who would like to support the good causes can do so at www.bertbissellmemorialwalk.co.uk.

Ian Austin said:

“After last year’s climb we were overwhelmed by local people’s generosity, and 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’ve often thought we ought to do something in his memory and climbing the mountain he conquered so many times to raise money for local charities seems a fitting tribute.

“It’s an honour to be joined by Bert’s lifelong friend Astley Blake as well as Steve, Dave, Keiran and the rest of the team - and I’m relying on them to get me through it!”

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