A LUDLOW village cricketer’s far-out fundraising heroics have not only reaped thousands of pounds for charity – they have inspired England World Cup winning hero Ben Stokes to join in too.

Soldier Rob Treasure, 24, from Ashford Carbonel, and two comrades, have raised more than £7,700 for NHS Charities Together and the Chance To Shine cricket charity with a ‘cricket garden marathon’.

Rob and two fellow officer cadets – Rob Cross and Charlie Newman – at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst ran 2,387 times between wickets in their gardens, the equivalent of a marathon apiece.

Their cause was helped by all-rounder Stokes – one of the heroes of last summer’s England World Cup win – who saw their stunt and joined in by running a half marathon himself.

“It was tough, that’s the only way to describe it!” admitted former Moor Park School student Rob, who completed his marathon in five hours and 33 minutes.

“I reached the halfway mark and, like with any marathon, you celebrate getting halfway – and then you realise you’ve got to go exactly that same distance again!

“My legs seized up at the end! But thanks to my amazing family and friends and all the incredible support we’ve had from everyone, that really pushed me through it.

“It really has been a team effort and the village got behind me, they have shown some really good community spirit which I think is pretty unique around here.”

The feat was inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s 100 lockdown laps of his garden and, in turn, the trio’s efforts inspired England star Stokes.

“That came as a complete surprise and to have Ben approach us was just incredible,” Rob added.

“He just said he had been thinking about doing a half marathon and his wife showed him what we were doing.

“He asked us what we thought about the idea of him getting involved and of course we jumped at it!”

Rob played cricket throughout school and briefly for Ludlow before turning out more often for village club Brampton Bryan since his university days.

“I’m by no means a good player but I do enjoy it!” he laughed. “I wouldn’t say I was particularly good at either bowling or batting, but my strength probably lies more as a bowler.”

The ‘Cricket Garden Marathon’ has attracted national attention with BBC radio and TV taking up the story.

Rob added: “It’s been amazing to hear the reaction to what we have done and it’s inspired people to get out there and do similar things.

“It’s been incredible to raise so much money and to have all that support but, on top of that, just to bring a smile to people’s faces is really cool.”

To donate to the fundraising drive, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HitandRun