South Shields church band tune up to boost charity cause

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A group of music-loving pals banded together to help boost a charity and came up trumps, with more than £500.

After Ben Sweeney decided to tackle a six-mile walk in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, fellow members of the junior band at the People’s Mission Church in South Shields made sure he didn’t have to step out alone.

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

Catherine Sweeney

Ben took part in the walk along the Tyne, between Newburn in Newcastle and Wylam, in Northumberland, last Sunday in honour of his dad, John, 48, who was diagnosed with the terminal condition two years ago.

Ben, a cornet-player in the junior 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, 39, was delighted that Ben and his pals raised so much cash for such a good cause.

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

Ben, of Fletcher Crescent, New Herrington, Sunderland, raised £462, with his pals chipping in with another £100 for the fundraising pot.

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.

“All of the kids seemed to really enjoy it, and their playing was superb.

“I think they surprised a lot of spectators with just how good a junior band can sound.

“We had excellent feedback from other people participating in the walk and also the feedback from the walk’s organisers was really good.

“Kids even mentioned that they would like to do it next year.

“Ben managed to raise £462, and he is over the moon about that, and a joint sponsorship form among the junior band has 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, visit