Ben’s parents’ charity push

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The family and friends of a little boy from Eastbourne who died suddenly last year are holding a number of events to raise awareness of and money for a charity set up in his memory.

Ben McNicol died on May 26 last year just two days after complaining of headaches. The year before on December 23 he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent surgery at King’s College Hospital in London which was successful. Six weeks of chemotherapy followed but despite a good initial prognosis Ben’s tumour returned.

His parents Roddy and EJ McNicol have spent the last 12 months since Ben died setting up the Ben McNicol Trust which is now a registered charity with the aim of buying a property in London for children undergoing treatment for cancer and their families to stay in while undergoing treatment.

Roddy said, “Treatment is often difficult and long and it sometimes involves spending a significant time away from home. The aim is to make life that little bit easier for children and their families by providing short term accommodation for families close to specialist centres to make the travelling and getting to appointments easier.

“Hopefully Ben’s House will be in close proximity to The Royal Marsden Hospital Sutton site, a specialist cancer centre. Children often need to arrive at hospital first thing in the morning for tests and treatment.

“It is often helpful to be able to stay somewhere the night before in order to avoid a very early start for children travelling some distance. We would hope to be able to fund overnight hotel costs for families in this position or accommodate them in Ben’s House if this was available.”

Already the coffers of the charity have been boosted by supporters raising cash in the Eastbourne Half Marathon and Beachy Head Marathon and next month pupils at Ben’s school St John’s Meads in Eastbourne will take part in a fun and games day to raise awareness of the trust and a dinner and charity auction is also planned for July 12 at All Saint’s Chapel in Eastbourne.