27 June, 2014

Going the extra mile for Fairtrade

by Lewis Sydenham, IT engineer

Lewis Sydenham has raised £805 for the Fairtrade Foundation by running this year’s London Marathon, the largest annual fundraising event on the planet. We ask the fully fledged runner what inspired him to take part in the challenge and raise money for the charity.

LewisMy name is Lewis Sydenham. I am an IT engineer. I love exploring the world and discovering new food.

On 29 April 2013, I finally decided to enter the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 ballot. It had been on my “to do” list for some time. After an agonising five-month wait, I found out I had been lucky in the ballot process. I was over the moon. During those five months, I began an exciting new journey – a vegetarian diet – and I also started paying far more attention to food and drink labels.

I had always been familiar with Fairtrade, yet did not fully understand its purpose. I did some research, subscribed to various online sources and started to receive up-to-date information on how Fairtrade operates and how consumers can help improve the working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries. The more I read, the more I understood what Fairtrade was and how purchasing Fairtrade products could directly impact the lives of others.

Run for FaitradeAcross Europe, Fairtrade has been instrumental in building up consumer pressure for companies to improve working conditions for banana and cocoa workers, address issues of child labour, and to examine their business practices.

Therefore, the conscious decision to buy Fairtrade products sends a message to competing companies: buying Fairtrade means you are helping to ensure that farmers are paid a better price and workers can enjoy decent working conditions.

Without question, my charity choice for the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 was Fairtrade. I set up a donation page and my donors were delighted I chose Fairtrade. Some people were surprised, however, but after I educated them about the basics, they soon agreed what a great choice I had made.

I wanted Fairtrade to be recognised in one of the world’s largest charitable running events: London Marathon. Giorgio Mariani, Fundraising Officer at the Fairtrade Foundation, was my lifeline. He provided me with encouragement, support, and an incredible running vest. Giorgio turned up on the race day to cheer me on and congratulate me with a personalised goodie bag.

I will never forget that day. I managed to raise a whopping £805, which truly exceeded my expectations. I was so delighted with the experience I have entered the ballot for next year! I am hoping to do even better – how about you try, too?

MarathonDid I mention I was the ONLY person running in support of Fairtrade? 2015 is time for a change!

Live with purpose, buy Fairtrade, run for Fairtrade!

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