A BUSINESS owner will be given a helping hand on his epic mission thanks to a Weyhill firm.

Vernham Labels has given its backing to Andreas Beirne and his Big Barrel Run charity challenge.

Andover businessman and veteran Andreas will be running the equivalent of 11 marathons, 456km, over seven days with a 13kg barrel, ‘Big Baz’, to raise £20,000 for Combat Stress in memory of those who died during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan.

The company has not only donated £500 to help Andreas towards his target, but is also taking a role in offering logistical support for the challenge.

Owner Stuart Bishop will be at the London Marathon, meeting Andreas at pre-arranged points to provide water and food at the start of his feat on April 28.

While most people are able to complete a marathon with energy drinks or gels, the physical exertion of running with the barrel means that Andreas is currently consuming in excess of 6,000 calories to a day.

Stuart will then be getting on his bike for three days over the following week to act as navigator for the challenge and again provide drink and food to keep Andreas going.

Stuart said: “

We are in awe of what Andreas is undertaking so we wanted to be able to support him and Combat Stress, a very worthy cause, in any way that we can.

“While we were very happy to sponsor him, it’s also great to have the opportunity to actually join him during his runs and be part of a challenge of this magnitude.”

Stuart will be guiding Andreas on his runs from Andover to Winchester, Winchester to Southampton and on the final day from Ringwood to Salisbury, covering a total of 120 miles in total. It is estimated that Andreas will be running for around 10 hours a day.

Andreas added: “It’s brilliant to have Vernham Labels join the Big Barrel Run crew. I can’t thank them enough for their generous donation and also for giving up their time to support me during my challenge.

“I am under no illusion about just how hard this challenge is going to be and having people like Stuart alongside me spurring me on and providing motivation when I’m finding things really tough is what is going to get me to the end.”

To find out more or donate, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/thebigbarrelrun.