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17 February 2018

Red hot chilli eaters raise funds for the ALF

Article by Greg Fidgeon

AN old school friend of Lt Aaron Lewis has spiced things up to raise money for the ALF.

Paul Hodges, 35, hosted a chilli-eating challenge and a curry and quiz night to generate almost £1,500 for the Foundation.

The project manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland roped in colleagues at RBS to be sponsored to eat chillies in an increasing scale of hotness. The event, which took place in December, raised £650.

Paul, who is married to Lucy and has a baby daughter Elsie, also organised a curry and quiz night last month that generated a further £822. Some 75 people attended and the event included a raffle with Southend restaurant Mangetout among the prize donors.

Paul said: “I had been thinking about how I could help for a while and the best way I could was to raise some money.

“I have not raised money before but I encouraged my wife, who ran the Brentwood Half marathon last year, to do it on behalf of the ALF.

“For the chilli eating and quiz night I had an overall target of £1,000 and managed to meet that and better it.”

Paul, from Leigh-on-Sea, met Aaron while at Westcliff High School for Boys and says they shared a “memorable” post-A Level holiday to Kavos with a group of friends.

He added: “I always thought Aaron was a good guy, but when I attended his funeral I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and the outpouring of love for him. Clearly he was more than a good guy to many people.

“Some of my close friends have been heavily involved in the ALF and encouraged me to attend the rugby 10s, which was a great event. While there I read the stories about how the ALF had helped so many people and got to meet some of the beneficiaries.

“Seeing the good work that a charity has done is very powerful. I also got to meet Helen and Barry [Aaron’s parents] again and was impressed by their drive and enthusiasm to carry on making a difference in Aaron’s name.”