The first pair of trousers to be pressed in the Andover Pressathon belong to the local MP, Sir George Young.
"I read of Ben's plea for more trousers in the Advertiser - in an article that had a record number of puns in it." (See below)
"I wanted to help him on his way so have entrusted some red trousers that I bought to celebrate the Jubilee in. I commend Ben for his initiative in raising money for Children in Need."
Extract from Andover Advertiser Nov 14th 2003
At 6pm on Thursday, 20 November, Ben Walton will grasp the handle of his giant Hoffman press and embark on a 24hour marathon of trouser pressing.
Ben’s pressathon is in aid of the Children in Need fund-raising event but Ben will also be hoping to set an unofficial world record for pressing trousers. Alas, the Guinness Book of Records has refused to recognise the record bid, citing vague technical reasons, despite the fact that no such record has ever been attempted.
Despite this disappointing turn-up, Ben, proprietor of Ben’s Quality Dry Cleaners in Union Street, is not getting hot under the collar: A large amount raised for a worthy cause and a sense of personal satisfaction will be his rewards.
Ben expects to zip through between 750 and 1,000 pairs of trousers during his pressathon, charging supporters and members of the public £1 per pair, all of which will be pocketed by Children in Need.
Each pair will take about a minute to press, - Ben explains. The technique is to press one leg, then the other, press the front and back and finish by placing the trousers on a hanger. Ben says that, during the ironing boredom will be his biggest enemy.
“I think the early part of the hours will fly by, especially after I work up a head of steam,” says Ben. “It’s going to be the early hours of the morning which seam the longest - I’ll really be flying by the seat of my pants then and I hope my motivation won’t de-crease.”
Ben has long wanted to attempt an event of this nature, having discovered a flair for pressathons during a shorter, 10-hour, five-person relay charity trouser pressing some years ago at his Mother’s dry cleaning shop.
Ben has been ably supported by the Andover chapter of Business Network International, to which he belongs. Members from chapters in Southampton, Newbury, Basingstoke and Salisbury will be bringing along their trousers for the event. To take the event in his strides, Ben has to have a constitution of iron and so has been put through a rigorous training course by David Gould of Optimise Fitness of Longparish, working mainly on flexibility and mobility, upper body strength and endurance work, so Ben won’t have to waist time recovering from attacks of stitch.
David will be coaching Ben throughout the event and acting as his emotional crotch.
Ben is also hoping that some celebrity guests will pop in during the event to offer encouragement, including Test Valley Mayor, Cllr Pat West
As an added attraction, Larraine Mitchell of Bliss beauty therapy salon will be in Ben’s shop offering head and shoulder massages at £5 for five minutes also in aid of Children in Need.
Ben’s shop will also be decorated with a balloon display donated by Dave and Chrissy Stanbridge of Party Zone Balloons.
But in order to complete his pressathon, Ben needs trousers and lots of them.
Members of the public are welcome to bring their trousers of all descriptions into the Union Street shop from now until 5pm on 20 November. All submitted garments will be tagged with their owner’s name so there will be no chance of them getting lost.
If dry cleaning is also required, Ben will donate £1 of the charge to Children in Need.
Ben hopes to hand over a cheque for the money he raises on live TV on Friday evening.