A WELSH actor set to tackle one of the world’s toughest footraces gave youngsters in Caerphilly county borough an inspirational talk about his upcoming charity adventure.
Next month, Mark Lewis Jones and fellow actor Richard Harrington will take on the Marathon des Sables – a gruelling 151-mile race in the searing heat of the Sahara Desert – aiming to raise £100,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Mr Lewis-Jones visited Caerphilly council’s headquarters in Ystrad Mynach to tell young people from Caerphilly Youth Service, Inclusion Services, the Caerphilly Hub Team, community focused schools and those undertaking education outside of a conventional school setting (EOTAS), about the charity challenge.
Mr Lewis-Jones plays Rob Morgan on hit Sky One comedy Stella, while Mr Harrington starred as DCI Tom Mathias in the acclaimed S4C drama Y Gwyll and its English-language counterpart Hinterland screened on BBC One Wales.
The pair will have to endure scorching temperatures as they run for six days while carrying everything they need to survive on their backs. Mr Lewis-Jones told the Penallta House audience that he and his fellow actor, who have raised more than £4,000 so far, would also have to avoid dangerous scorpion stings, spiders and snake bites while they compete in the race.
Those present also heard from Dr Chris Pepper who carries out Leukaemia and Lymphoma research at Cardiff University. He told the young people about the impact that money raised could have on advanced research into curing blood cancer.
Speaking after the event, Mr Lewis-Jones said: “It’s such a fascinating race and I think everyone gets the Marathon des Sables bug after hearing about it, it’s got a real special attraction to it.
“The talk seemed to go down very well, the young people asked some very good questions at the end which showed that they had taken the information on board. I think that the more we spread the word about what we’re doing the greater chance we have of getting Dr Chris Pepper the £100,000 for the year’s research, which will be a marvellous thing.”
Sophie Jones, 17, vice chairwoman of Caerphilly Youth Forum, said: “All the young people were looking forward to this beforehand. It was really good to hear how much hard work and training has gone into this, and it was brilliant to be able to get hands on and see the equipment.”
Caerphilly council held a charity raffle to support the actors' quest, which raised more than £300. Prizes were sponsored by Tesco, Ystrad Mynach.
To support their fundraising mission, visit www.leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/mds.