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Runners hand over 130 medals to six-year-old with inoperable brain tumour

PUBLISHED: 17:14 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 05 November 2019

Six-year-old Benny Pitcher and his sister Rosie, 8, show off some of the 130-plus marathon medals donated by Norfolk running enthusiasts.
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Six-year-old Benny Pitcher and his sister Rosie, 8, show off some of the 130-plus marathon medals donated by Norfolk running enthusiasts. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Norfolk fitness enthusiasts touched by the courage of a six-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumour have presented the youngster with more than 130 marathon medals, won at events ranging from the Norfolk Superhero team challenge, to the gruelling Deca UK 10 triathlon challenge.

Six-year-old Benny Pitcher with dad Kevin, mum Julie and siblings Brannigan, Roseanna and Ruby.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSix-year-old Benny Pitcher with dad Kevin, mum Julie and siblings Brannigan, Roseanna and Ruby. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Benny Pitcher, who lives at East Runton, near Cromer, with his parents Kevin and Julie and siblings Brannigan, Ruby and Roseanna, was found to have a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer six months ago after his family were forced to cut short a seaside holiday when he began showing symptoms of weakness on one side of his face.

Friends and supporters have raised more than £10,000 for the youngster since the shock diagnosis, holding a string of events ranging from a golf day and a fishing competition, to a family fun day and football match featuring team members including ex-Norwich City stars Darren Eadie and Mike Milligan.

Six-year-old Benny Pitcher with mum Julie, pictured shortly after the youngster was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLSix-year-old Benny Pitcher with mum Julie, pictured shortly after the youngster was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Benny, who is a pupil at Sheringham Primary School, has also been asked to switch on the town's Christmas lights on November 29.

Keen to do something to support the courageous youngster, Mr Pitcher's fellow North Norfolk Beach Runners club member Chris Gibbons came up with the idea of organising a 'Medals for Benny' appeal, and donations soon began flooding in.

Six-year-old Benny Pitcher pictured with sisters Roseanna and Ruby before he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Photo: Pitcher familySix-year-old Benny Pitcher pictured with sisters Roseanna and Ruby before he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Photo: Pitcher family

"It's just been incredible," Mr Pitcher said. "I always ask people to come and give the medals to Benny in person if they can, and he is just so pleased to see them."

The Pitchers, who were the first family to stay overnight at the East Anglia's Children's Hospices' new £10 million facility, The Nook, are hoping to use some of the cash raised by the community to build a home extension adapted to Benny's needs as his illness progresses.

More fundraising events are planned, with Mr Pitcher and 10 friends also signing up for next year's Brighton Marathon.

"I want to give something back and my aim is to raise £40,000 in Benny's name to make a difference and help families in a similar situation," Mr Pitcher said.

"When we were first told about Benny's illness, I didn't want to go on living, but, throughout his treatment, he has been amazing and although we know his diagnosis, I am definitely not giving up, so to have the amount of support we have had from the community makes a massive difference."

To donate a medal, visit the Medals for Benny Facebook page.

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