Caring Ben steps out for charity in honour of terminally ill dad

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A Wearside youngster went the extra mile to boost a charity close to his heart to the tune of more than £500.

Ben Sweeney, 10, took part in a six-mile sponsored walk along the Tyne between Newburn in Newcastle and Wylam in Northumberland last Sunday in honour of his dad, John, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease two years ago.

Ben has managed to raise £457, he is over the moon

Catherine Sweeney

Ben, a pupil at Hetton Lyons Primary School in Hetton, was joined on the trek by fellow members of the junior band at the People’s Mission Church in South Shields.

Ben, a cornet-player in the band, played tunes along with his bandmates during the walk, with proud parents John and Catherine Sweeney and brother Adam, 13, among their chorus line of supporters.

Catherine, of Fletcher Crescent, New Herrington, Sunderland, was delighted that Ben and his pals raised so much cash for the cause.

Catherine, 39, is now a full-time carer for John, 48, who requires a walking stick and must use a wheelchair for longer journeys as he battles the terminal condition.

Catherine said: “Sunday went really well. We were quite nervous when we woke up and saw the weather, but it seemed to clear just in time for the walk. Ben has managed to raise £462. He is over the moon with that, and a joint sponsorship form among the junior band raised another £100 on top.”

The junior band will be teaming up with the church’s senior band for a free charity concert at the People’s Mission Church, in Baring Street, at 7pm on Saturday.

A collection will be held in aid of the association.

People can still support Ben’s fundraising efforts by visiting

For further information on the charity, go online and visit