Marathon fisherman vows to carry on
A FISHERMAN has vowed to carry on with a year-long fundraising marathon – even if it means losing his home.Grandfather Mark Blake is preparing to go fishing for 12 months non-stop to raise cash for Children In Need.
A FISHERMAN has vowed to carry on with a year-long fundraising marathon – even if it means losing his home.
Grandfather Mark Blake is preparing to go fishing for 12 months non-stop to raise cash for Children In Need.
He hopes to raise about £20,000 for the charity with his mammoth feat at the Suffolk Water Park in Bramford.
But the 44-year-old's plans were jolted when Babergh District Council ruled he might not be eligible for housing benefit if he took up the challenge.
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Mr Blake, who suffers from diabetes and a bone wasting condition, may now have to pay rent on his council-owned bungalow in Shimpling, near Bury St Edmunds, while he is away.
"It's £55 a week and there's no way I can afford that. Just because I am raising money for charity doesn't mean I can pay rent," he said.
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"But I'm going ahead with the fishing marathon no matter what, even if they take my house away.
"I will worry about it when it is over and then I'll sort something out – I'm all right for a year."
Mr Blake, a retired builder who is on income support with a disability premium, said he was furious at the council's actions, which could lead to him losing his home of two years.
"I think it's disgusting when you consider I'm doing this for charity. But I've had lots of support from my friends and family and everybody has been brilliant. I'm not going to give this up."
Bob Southgate, head of revenues at Babergh, said: "We admire Mr Blake's charitable intentions.
"However, Babergh is required to abide by the law and the law is clear that a person who is living away from his house for the length of time indicated by Mr Blake may no longer eligible for housing benefit.
"This point was raised with Mr Blake on September 5, once we first knew of his plans."
The angler is bidding to start the marathon on October 4 and will not leave the confines of the water park for an entire year.
Mr Blake, a father-of-three, is depending on family and friends to bring him food and carry out chores and other anglers to keep him company.
He will sleep in a tent on the lakeside and has a gas stove to cook food. He has no idea how many carp he might be able to catch in 365 days – but said sponsorship is growing by the day.