Ben sticks with his top fundraising idea

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Manchester United and Crawley Town have met the challenge of helping a 10-year-old boy raise money for charity.

When Ben McWilliam, of Maidenbower, finished filling his Panini football sticker album, he found himself with dozens of leftover stickers.

Instead of throwing them away, Ben decided to start a second album and to auction it off for the Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre, in West Green.

His step-sister Emma had been fighting breast cancer and Ben wanted to help the people who had helped her.

As support for Ben’s idea grew, his mum, Sara, found her home taken over by hundreds upon hundreds of the stickers.

People dropped them through the letterbox of their home and Panini themselves donated 50.

Sara said: “It’s taken over my home – there are stickers everywhere!”

With the names and sticker numbers of all the players set out on a spreadsheet, Sara has become something of an unwitting expert in all things football.

She would recognise Vitorino Antunes, of Portugal, if she passed him in the street as Ben has 515 of his stickers!

The same applies to his teammate Miguel Veloso – Ben has 517 of him.

As for Ben himself, the football mad youngster, who goes to Maidenbower Junior School, is a big fan of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

He threw himself into the fundraising effort and has been offered tea and biscuits at the Olive Tree as a thank you.

Sara said: “It’s taken over his entire school holiday.”

Describing the support she and Ben have received, Sara explained how, with the help of staff at Maidenbower Park Community Club, an auction was arranged at the club for August 29 from 11am which will be combined with a cake and sweet sale.

But the support didn’t stop there. Crawley Town FC stepped in with a signed football to add to the auction – Sara said the team signed it on the coach to their away game against Barnsley.

And Premier League giants Manchester United sent a signed pennant.

For anyone collecting the stickers, Ben’s spare ones will be on sale at the auction.




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