Tackling the London Marathon for charity started by Great Uncle – 50 years on

24 March 16

written by:

Heather Fanning

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Bennett Brothers Fighting for Sight Side by Side

Brothers Jon, 35, and Robert, 30, will go the distance for the UK’s main eye research charity Fight for Sight, at the Virgin London Marathon, on Sunday 24 April.

The duo will be joining thousands of runners to take on the gruelling 26.2 mile challenge across London city. They have chosen to raise funds to support vital eye research as it’s a cause close to their heart.

Their great-uncle was late Professor Norman Ashton CBE who founded the charity in 1965. At the time Professor Ashton was Director of Pathology, at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London, and was heavily involved with Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Professor Ashton went on to become a world leader in eye research, publishing over 200 papers and trained numerous ophthalmic pathologists who dispersed around the globe.

His greatest breakthrough was in 1953 after discovering that excessive oxygen given to premature babies to compensate for breathing problems could cause blindness. His team's observations led to the careful control of oxygen delivery to premature infants and saved the sight of many babies. Subsequent work supported by Fight for Sight has helped to develop techniques to salvage vision in premature babies with sight threatening retinopathy.

Robert originally from Yorkshire, but now lives in Jersey, works as in-house counsel for Systematica Investments said: “Our great-uncle was an incredible man and we’re proud of his achievements and how his life-long work helped to save people’s sight. Fight for Sight continues to fund vital eye research across the country, so I am proud to be running with my brother to help raise both awareness and sponsorship.”

Jon, who now lives in Gloucestershire, is an engineer at Delphi Diesel Systems, Stonehouse, added: “I’ve always been aware of the excellent work Fight for Sight does and I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon – so it was ideal to be able to run for a charity that is close to my heart.”

Catherine Woodhead, Director of Fundraising at Fight for Sight, said: "We would like to wish Jon and Robert the best of luck with their training and it’s incredible that generations on we still have the support from the family. Thank you for continuing to help your great-uncle’s mission and take us a step closer to creating a future everyone can see.”

To support Jon please donate online or text JJAB77 £5 to 70070 and to support Rob please donate online or text RBLM51 £5 to 70070.