Vermilion’s ‘Ben for Ben’

05 August, 2015 / infocus

A Corstorphine dental practice has raised £5,000 for mouth cancer charity the Ben Walton Trust after scaling Ben Lomond recently.

Vermilion practice principal David Offord explained that it was his dental nurse Emily Weir who suggested they climb the Munro to raise funds for the charity. He said: “It’s the most southerly munro and the easiest to get to. The play on words – Ben for Ben – was also nice of course.

“We wanted to do something around mouth cancer and it is 20 years since the Ben Walton Trust was set up following the death of a young student named Ben Walton who died of a tumour on his tongue aged 22.

We started in reasonable sunshine but then, halfway up we came into mist and saw nothing for the rest of the walk

David Offord

“Emily had the idea that if we were to take on this challenge as a group within the practice it would be a hell of an achievement, which it proved to be actually.”

In total 15 members of staff, including David and colleagues Grant Mathieson, Rob Hill, Craig Mather and Will McLean, took part in the challenge.

David said: “It took us all about six hours but Will McLean ran up and down it in just under two hours. But then couldn’t walk for the next week!”

Despite the walk starting in blue skies and sunshine, it quickly descended into mist as the great Scottish summer worked its magic. David said: “There were howling gales at the top and we had hoped to have a champagne moment at the summit but it was not to be. We ended up swigging it on the way back down…

“But, everyone made it up to the top and it was a great team effort because, for some of the party, this was well out of their comfort zone.”


David explained that they are in talks with Ben Walton’s father Michael, who received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year, as to where the money should be used. “It looks like the money is going to go towards an initiative by MacMillan Cancer Support to provide patients who have had mouth cancer with a toolkit/recipe book to allow them to prepare interesting meals,” said David .

“One of the many negatives about having mouth cancer is you can lose all interest in food and commonly end up blending everything. Whether it is due to the fact that you have dry mouth due to radiotherapy or because you have an awkward obturator prosthesis, it can be a struggle to eat. And one of life’s greatest pleasures is then taken away from you.”

David said that he and his staff were absolutely delighted to reach their target of £5,000. He continued: “I want to say a big thank you to all of our supporters – family, friends, patients and suppliers – who all got right behind us to make our total.”

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