Great Henny man stages 36-hour chess marathon to support cancer charity

Stephen Lea, of Great Henny, held a charity chess marathon at Stansted Airport to raise money for Clic Sargent.
Stephen Lea, of Great Henny, held a charity chess marathon at Stansted Airport to raise money for Clic Sargent.

A Great Henny man took on dozens of challengers over the course of 36 hours, as he held a chess marathon in support of a cancer charity.

Stephen Lea, a systems baggage operator at Stansted Airport, staged the marathon in December, playing up to 10 games simultaneously against waiting commuters, with each participant giving a donation for the benefit of Clic Sargent.

In total, he played more than 90 matches and only lost three of them, managing to raise about £340 for the charity, which supports children with cancer and their families.

Mr Lea said he was very happy with the support. He was particularly surprised when he was briefly joined by international chess master Lawrence Trent, who was passing through the airport, and played a few games before providing donations of his own.

“The support was very good. A lot of people came along and, if they didn’t have time to play chess, they could still donate,” said Mr Lead.

“I had 10 chess sets set up, and this is very difficult, especially when you are not a master. You have to make a move quickly, because people have not got a lot of time.

“In general, it was very well supported. I was very pleased. I would have liked to have raised more, but, considering it was in December, we did very well.”

He added that he had plans to do another chess marathon this year, this time lasting 48 hours, which will consist of 24 hours at Manchester Airport, followed by another 24 hours at Stansted Airport.