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Ben's sweet gesture raises hundreds

PUBLISHED: 20:00 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 14:33 14 July 2010

Being deprived of chocolates is a real ordeal when you are a teenager with a sweet tooth.

But Wymondham schoolboy Ben Palmer endured life without his favourite sweets, cakes and biscuits for 135 days to raise money for charity in memory of his uncle.

Being deprived of chocolates is a real ordeal when you are a teenager with a sweet tooth.

But Wymondham schoolboy Ben Palmer endured life without his favourite sweets, cakes and biscuits for 135 days to raise money for charity in memory of his uncle.

The thirteen-year-old's sponsored fast included Christmas and his birthday. And when it finally ended, instead of scoffing all the chocolates he had received over the months as gifts, the kind-hearted youngster took them to school to share with his friends.

Ben's voluntary marathon brought in £625 for the Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich which helped care for his uncle, father-of-one Richard Earland, who died of cancer at the age of 33 in November 2006.

It is not the first time the Wymondham High School student has put himself through the ordeal. Last year, he and younger brother Sam, 11, both gave up sweets for five weeks, raising £400 for the Priscilla Bacon Lodge and Macmillan Cancer nurses.

Ben said: “I asked myself what I ate a lot of and the answer was chocolate. But it was really difficult to give it up so I was really pleased with myself when I managed it over Christmas. Then I could not eat my birthday cake on February 18 which made it harder.”

He added: “My uncle got cancer and was only 33 when he died which was very sad. We wanted to do something to remember him. I raised £625 this time which is the most I have ever raised at one time.”

Proud mum, Jane Palmer, 41, an administrator for Norfolk police, said: “Ben has a sweet tooth so I think he found it hard, but I was very proud of how he stuck to it and got through it no matter how much people tried to tempt him to eat chocolate. He is a really lovely guy and will do anything to help anybody - his character is so helpful and cheerful.

“We had to keep all the chocolates he was given for Halloween, Christmas and his birthday in a box. And then when he could eat them he decided to take them to school and dish them out!”

She said Ben was very grateful to his friends, Scout group, family and neighbours for sponsoring him.

Becky Cooper, lead nurse at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, said Ben's fundraising showed that people cared about society.

“This is the second time he's raised money for us, and for a young lad to raise money like this is absolutely fantastic. A lot of young children get moaned about but they do care and it should be celebrated. We're hoping to use the money to pay for good furnishing for patients when our day service is refurbished. It means a lot to us,” she said.

Mr Earland worked as a draughtsman for engineering firm Barter Hill Partnership, and lived in Costessey with his wife and young son. He was diagnosed with aggressive bowel cancer after suffering stomach pains in May 2006.

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