Rugby ace Ben Cohen is going to miss vital days of preparation this week as he has flown off to America to support his anti-bullying charity, StandUp.
StandUp was launched seven years ago in the UK and has recently been launched in America, where Ben spent most of last month raising awareness of the charity. Originally, the cause was launched six years after his father was attacked trying to protect another man in a pub.
Thirteen years ago, Peter Cohen – Ben’s father, passed away after being attacked in a club as he tried to protect another man. Three men were found guilty of violent conduct.
That is what makes the charity very special to Ben’s heart as he says he doesn’t like bullying at all, full stop! As a result of that, he has had to take time away from rehearsals to fly to the US following last night’s debut on the show.
Speaking about his dad’s death and launching StandUp in the UK and US, Ben said: “My dad stood up to bullying and lost his life protecting someone else.
“It drove me to be the best player in the world and win the World Cup (in 2003) but certainly the emotions that death caused in my family was devastating. I don’t like bullying full stop. It is not just about here and now either, it stays with people all their lives.
“The death of my father put everything into perspective and I am more relaxed about things. My dad was brutally attacked protecting someone. Fast forward six years, and I had a massive gay following I didn’t realise I had. A lot of people were writing in to me so I started doing things within that community and saying bullying needs to stop”.
Luckily, Ben was a hit on Saturday night but he only had the chance to train for three weeks prior to the first live show, due to his work with the charity.
A source told The Mirror: “Ben’s had slightly less than three weeks to train but did 44 hours last week. Those close to Ben are worried as he had to go to the US for work which leaves him with little time to train. This is putting him at a huge disadvantage but he has always maintained that the worlk he does in his father’s memory is the most important thing for him. He retired from rugby to focus on his charity work”.
Strictly Come Dancing 2013 continues next Saturday on BBC One/HD.