Youngsters band together for show

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A charity champion youngster scored support from his music-loving pals - to help hit a high note for a cause close to his heart.

Ten-year-old Ben Sweeney and fellow members of the People’s Mission Church junior band, in Baring Street, South Shields, teamed up with senior band musicians for a charity concert in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

10 year old Ben Sweeney with parents John and Catherine, who are taking part in a sponsored walk

10 year old Ben Sweeney with parents John and Catherine, who are taking part in a sponsored walk

The caring cornet player is eager to bolster research into Motor Neurone Disease as his dad John, 48, was diagnosed with the condition two years ago.

The concert raised a fantastic £550 for the charity - and brings the total he has raised for them to a £1,000 in the space of a matter of weeks.

Ben, who lives in Fletcher Crescent, New Herrington, Sunderland, with his dad and mum Catherine Sweeney, 39 and older brother Adam, 13, had already raised £462 for the charity at a six-mile sponsored walk, with junior band members who joined him on the trek chipping in with another £100.

While the concert was free, a collection was held at the church for the concert, with a packed audience digging deep into their pockets.

Marian Dent, Branch Secretary of MNDA, came to meet children at People’s Mission junior band on Friday night to presented them with a certificate and a pin badge for their fundraising efforts.

Mum Catherine is delighted that Ben has managed to make such a grand gesture for the organisation.

Mrs Sweeney said: “The concert raised £500 on the night so we are absolutely thrilled with the amount raised. Added to Ben’s just giving total and money raised by junior band for the sponsored walk’ that’s over £1000 raised for MNDA.”

Mrs Sweeney is now a full-time carer for John, who requires a walking stick and must use a wheelchair for longer journeys.

She says that Ben is determined to support the charity in the hope that extra funds for research will one day find a cure for the terminal condition.

People can still support Ben’s fundraising efforts by visiting www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Sweeney5

For further information on the charity, visit www.mndassociation.org