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Calendar Club raise £26,000 for Calpe House

Eyleen Gomez

Four men known as ‘The Calendar Club’ have raised over £26,000 for Calpe House during a 465km running month-long challenge.

Daniel Benitez, Andrew Yeats, James Noguera and Jamie Robba completed their challenge to cheers from family and friends as they crossed the finish line at the Mid Harbour Small Boats Marina.

The Minister for Economic Development and patron of Calpe House, Sir Joe Bossano, greeted the men as they crossed the finish line and thanked them for their charitable effort.

The men ran 30km on Tuesday evening in the heat and humidity to complete the challenge.

Each man ran 465 km last month, totalling 1,860km between them.

The challenge required each of the four men to run a number of kilometres which correlated with the date, every day for the entire month of June. This meant running 1km on June 1, 2km on June 2 and so on, right up to last night, June 30.

The event saw other local athletes joining them on their last run including Abi Evans, Emma Foy and Stephen Walker.

Under a shower of confetti and through a red tape held by family and friends, the journey of 1,860km came to an end. An emotional end for some. When Mr Benitez started to speak, he became visibly moved by the ending of such a challenge and achievement, this prompting a loud round of applause from those gathered.

He thanked his fellow runners for accepting the challenge of doing the Calendar Club with him.

“I just want to touch upon the impact that it has had on the people who have taken part with us,” said Mr Benitez.

“At the beginning of Covid I saw one of my friends taking photos of beers and having a good time at home. But after about 20 days of doing the Calendar Club, he started waking up at 5am to do some runs and what that shows me is that we have inspired a lot of people to do more.”

“It is a 30 day challenge and all it takes is 30 days to change a lot. It takes consistency, tremendous mental toughness and a lot more than that.”

Mr Yeats thanked everyone for their support.

“I haven’t run alone one day,” he said. “Which shows the people we are in Gibraltar, everyone comes together even if you know us or don’t know us, so thank you very much for these 30 days. You have made it much easier for us.”

Mr Robba stressed the importance of Calpe House to the local community.

“I think one of the points of this challenge is, every day you do an extra kilometre, every day you have to do more and push harder and I think that is a good way to kind of strive to live life,” he said.

“Every day, go that little bit further and try and push that bit harder and get a bit better.”

Mr Noguera said he was overwhelmed by the support they received.

“To give this some context, three months ago we were in lockdown, we were in isolation and here we are today together,” he said.

“The reality is I couldn’t picture a better ending for the Calendar Club than what I am seeing here in front of me now.”

“A big ‘thank you’ to all of you, whether you ran with us, donated or a simple text message that got us out of bed in the morning to run it, honestly, means the world to us.”

He gave special thanks to Calpe House trustee Jose Julio Pisharello who was instrumental in getting the challenge off the ground and thanked to the board of trustees, his girlfriend Bianca and his father.

“We did this project for the community and with the community,” Mr Noguera said.

“Yes, we wanted to complete the challenge, we wanted to run as many kilometres as possible, we also wanted to raise as much money and as much awareness for Calpe House.”

“But, I think subconsciously the main point of this challenge was to try and inspire the next Calendar Club, the next group of individuals who can see themselves in an unprecedented climate, be it through a pandemic or otherwise, and be able to say, “You know what? We can take the initiative. We can take that first step in doing something positive for the community.”

“At the end of the day, they say that charity begins at home, well our home is Gibraltar and our home away from home is Calpe House.”

Speaking on behalf of the trustees and the chairman, Mr Pisharello commended the men for their extraordinary contribution.

“From my perspective looking at it from the outside, the one [run] that really captures the essence of the event was on the half marathon when, dressed as super heroes, they dedicated the run to a special kid who is now in Calpe House,” he said.

“Which demonstrated the courage and determination, the desire to help and, for me, that was the essence of this event.”

The Calendar Club is still accepting donations.

People can donate online via this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/calendar-club-in-aid-of-calpe-house?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet

Or over telephone by calling 8602, 8605 and 8610, for £2, £5 and £10 pounds respectively.