He’s been completing marathons up and down the country, but fund-raiser Ben Smith ran into a spot of bother in Bridlington yesterday.
Ben is running 401 marathons in 401 days but after completing his 26 miles around the Yorkshire Coast, he retunred to find a parking ticket slapped on his support van.
He had parked his van, which is covered in logos promoting his charity challenge, in a council-run car park off Flamborough Road, at around 9:45am yesterday, although the ticket was not issued until almost six hours later.
After being made aware of the situation by the Free Press, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has now agreed to cancel the parking ticket and refund the fine, which was paid by a member of the public.
Posting on his 401 Challenge page on Facebook, Ben said: “Parked my van in a car park that was near enough deserted this morning, paid for two tickets as was taking up two bays.
“Just got back to the van and I have a parking ticket, fine is for parking outside of one of the bays.
“Paid for two bays, what a joke - I will be contesting this. Thanks East Riding of Yorkshire Council for your support.”
But as news of the ticket circulated on Facebook, a local Good Samaritan stepped in to pay the £25 fine.
Richard Booth, a chartered financial manager at St James’s Place Wealth Management saw the photos of the ticket and Ben’s parking on Facebook and immediately settled the outstanding amount.
He said: “I don’t blame the parking warden but 10 seconds on Google would have shown him about Ben’s chairty work because the 401 Challenge logos were all over the van.
“I offered to pay the fine straight away. Ben said to wait until the council had responded but I have battled with them before. He should be concentrating on his running, not spending his time in discussions with the council.
“I didn’t want him thinking bad of Bridlington, so I got rid of it nice and quickly, to leave him with a more positive experience of our town.”
Ben was back in Bridlington for day 255 of his endurance challenge, having already visited the town back in February.
He was joined by a group of Bridlington Road Runners and other fitness fans to complete two laps of the course used for Bridlington’s annual half marathon, which starts on the seafront and takes in Sewerby, Flamborough and Bempton.
Ben told the Free Press: “I had an amazing run in Bridlington which was tarnished by the fact that I received a parking ticket.
“These things do happen, I’ve had other parking tickets in other locations, but what has actually warmed my heart is how the people of Bridlington and followers of the 401 Challenge have quickly come together and to try and resolve the issues.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the additional messages of a support and the generosity of Richard and the other people who offered to share the financial burden.
“Although it’s not much to some people, it’s moments of kindness likes this that I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
The Bristol-based runner is trying to raise awareness of anti-bullying charities Stonewall and Kidscape and collect £250,000 for the two organisations.
A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council: “The council is sorry to hear about Mr Smith’s misfortune when he visited Bridlington on Thursday as part of his charity endurance event of 401 marathons in 401 days.
“Our parking team were not aware of his intentions to use the council’s parking facilities as part of his event. If he had contacted the parking team, every effort would have been made to make his stay in Bridlington a pleasant experience as possible and facilities would have been made available for the parking of his motorhome at no expense to him.
“Our parking team has been approached by several charitable organisations who are organising various fund-raising events over the summer months. We are working with these organisations to make their events run as smoothly as possible and that they are a pleasant experience for the participants.
“In light of the charitable nature of Mr Smith’s amazing endurance event, the council will exercise its powers of discretion and cancel the parking penalty notice which was served on Mr Smith’s motorhome and refund the monies paid by the generous member of the public.”