Friends achieve world record in charity fundraiser

Two friends have beaten the world record for the longest table tennis rally whilst fundraising for charity.

Dan Ives and Lloyd Gregory, from Bristol, achieved the record at PingPod in Bristol on Saturday as part of a fundraiser for the stillbirth and neonatal charity, Sands. They have raised more than £5,000 for the cause, so far.

It comes after Dan lost his daughter, Lily Rae Ives, in 2020.

The duo maintained their rally for 13 hours, 36 minutes and 36 seconds - beating the previous record by 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Mr Ives and Mr Gregory, who described themselves as "table tennis lunatics", began their continuous rally at 07:00 BST on Saturday.

The entire challenge was live streamed on Mr Ives' YouTube channel, dedicated to the sport.

“Physically, it’s tough. It’s very repetitive," the 34-year-old said.

"You’re going to quickly get an ache in your body, whether it’s your shoulder or arm.

"Mentally it's hard. The amount of times in your mind, you’re like ‘shall we just stop?’" he added.

Mr Gregory, 33, said: "The concentration you have to keep up just to keep your eye on that little white ball and keep it going was a different level."

Both said the "physical and mental battle" was "tense", particularly when they got near to the 11-and-a-half hour mark - close to the former world record.

"It was so nerve-wracking. I was shaking - I could barely hold my bat," Mr Ives said.

“As soon as we hit the record, I felt the tension release and the pain kind of eased," Mr Gregory added.

"My bat felt a little bit lighter. It was a relief."

Since losing his daughter four years ago, Mr Ives has tried to complete annual fundraising events in her memory, as part of the "Lily's Legacy" initiative.

After she died, him and his wife were supported by Sands, which is why he wanted to do something to give back.

Mr Ives said the money will "help massively", enabling the charity to continue its work of reaching out to parents and organising activities and events to help them through their grief.

“You feel like you’re not alone, and that’s what we found really good.

"It helped me and my wife a lot," he added.

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