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Injured 27-year-old Afghanistan veteran completes Remembrance Day run in shape of giant poppy

28 Oct 2014Vodafone Foundation news
4 minute read
  • In Vodafone’s latest First*, Ben McBean uses smartphone running app and Vodafone network to create outline of huge poppy on London map for the first time
  • Ben, seriously injured in Afghanistan in 2008, challenges British public to raise money for The Poppy Appeal and to use mobile technology to run London streets to colour in poppy
  • Supporters can donate to the Royal British Legion via JustTextGiving
  • Vodafone Foundation will match fund up to £100,000

Former Royal Marine Commando Ben McBean has today completed a gruelling 31-mile run through the streets of London on a very personal mission ahead of Remembrance Day 2014: to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

After losing his left arm and right leg in a landmine blast in Afghanistan while serving with 40 Commando Royal Marines, Ben was supported in his recovery by the Royal British Legion. Hailed by Prince Harry as a hero, Ben is now inviting the British public to help him raise money for the Royal British Legion by running the streets of London within the poppy’s outline using popular running apps.

Supporters can donate via JustTextGiving, and the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s philanthropic arm, will match every pound donated up to £100,000. Funds raised through the run will enable the Royal British Legion to support ex-servicemen and women like Ben.

With the help of Vodafone’s network and a running app to map the route, Ben created the first-ever outline of a poppy on the London map. His run is part of the Vodafone Firsts programme, which is about inspiring people to do something remarkable for the first time with the help of Vodafone’s technology.

Ben was only 20 when he lost his limbs in a landmine blast on 28 February 2008, and medics feared he might die from his injuries. On his 31-mile route which ended at Tower Bridge, Ben endured frequent pain caused by his prosthetic limbs.

Ben McBean said: "The run was both physically and emotionally exhausting, but so rewarding. I now need the help of the British public to run the London streets to fill in my poppy and raise money for The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. Please get your friends, family and colleagues involved and donate by texting POPP58 £5 to 70070. The Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s charitable arm, will match every pound raised up to £100,000."

The Royal British Legion's Director of Fundraising Charles Byrne said: "We're hugely grateful to Ben McBean and Vodafone for their commitment to the Big Poppy Run and hope that Ben’s run will inspire many others to take part in this exciting challenge. The money raised will provide vital support to serving and ex-Service people, and their families, whether living with bereavement or disability, finding employment, or coping with financial stress – the same problems facing First World War veterans when they returned to the UK 100 years ago."

Vodafone Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett said: "Vodafone's network is helping Ben achieve his goal, while the Vodafone Foundation's JustTextGiving platform will make it easier for the public to support Ben as he takes on such an admirable challenge to raise money for the Royal British Legion."

Ben McBean is inviting people to run the London streets within the poppy's outline. They should go to where they can select one of three popular running apps (Strava, MapMyRun and RunKeeper) to map their route. Once they have run the streets within the outline, their route will appear in red on a map on

Supporters wishing to help Ben on his mission to raise funds for The Poppy Appeal can simply text the unique code POPP58 with the amount (£1, £2, £5 or £10) to 70070. Or they can donate via Ben's Just Giving page

For more information on the Poppy Run, please visit

For more information, contact:

Vodafone Group Media Relations

Ogilvy London

Note to Editors

*Further details of Vodafone Firsts can be found at:

About Vodafone

Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 52 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 30 June 2014, Vodafone had 436 million mobile customers and 9 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit:

About JustTextGiving and the Vodafone Foundation

JustTextGiving is a partnership between Vodafone and JustGiving, supported by The Vodafone Foundation, the not-for-profit and philanthropic arm of Vodafone. It enables quick and easy donations via text message, to any cause registered with fundraising website JustGiving. All funds donated via JustTextGiving from any network go directly to charity.

The Vodafone Foundation's Mobile for Good programme combines Vodafone's charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world. Globally, the Vodafone Foundation supports projects that are focused on delivering public benefit through the use of mobile technology across the areas of health, education and disaster relief. The Vodafone Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (registered charity number 1089625).

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