Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 16:20 UK

Stroke shock prompts skate trip

Ben Stiff
Ben Stiff hopes to raise awareness of strokes on his jouney

A teenager who plans to skateboard the length of Britain to highlight the issue of strokes in young people is preparing for the 900-mile trip.

Ben Stiff decided to act after one of his close school friends was affected by four strokes at the age of 15.

The 18-year-old, from Kersey, Suffolk, has had an MRI scan at London's Royal Brompton Hospital ahead of his trip.

He will be raising money for heart disease and stroke charity Corda on his way from John O'Groats to Lands End.

The journey, starting in June, should take about a month. He needs to skate about 40 miles (64km) every day if he is to become the youngest and quickest person to skate the distance.

Age shock

"I read about Dave Cornthwaite [a skateboarder] on the internet and read about his journey across Australia and that really inspired me and it kicked me into gear to want to do something on my skateboard," Mr Stiff said.

His friend, Sophie St Ledger, was only 15 when she suffered strokes, which she thinks were triggered by exam stress.

Her illness inspires Mr Stiff's skateboarding challenge.

Mr Stiff added: "I thought strokes were something that happened later on in life and just to have firstly a stroke happen to a young person and secondly someone that was a really close friend of mine - I couldn't get over it really."


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