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28th May, 2022

Villagers raise over £3.5k in memory of Halloween-loving teen

Andy Morris 10th Nov, 2020

THE PEOPLE of Dunchurch came together in memory of a boy from the village who loved Halloween, as part of a special fundraiser for research into childhood leukaemia.

With Covid restrictions preventing villagers from trick-or-treating this year, they instead joined in with other Halloween-related fun to raise over £3,700 for Fred Bennett’s Don’t Look Down Fund, a special fund at Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

The fund was set up in September to raise money for much-needed research into acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), after 14-year-old Fred passed away from the disease in May.

Fred’s mum Louise said that Halloween was his favourite night of the year, and she was determined to not let this year be a low-key affair.

A socially-distanced Halloween trail was organised around the village for families to follow, as well as a ‘Halloween Heist’ challenge, encouraging children to dress up and take part in home-based activities such as telling ghost stories and having movie marathons.

The focus of the Halloween takeover was to raise as much as possible for Fred’s fund, with people being asked to donate the money they would normally spend on sweets for trick-or-treaters instead.

A Halloween football match involving Fred’s brother Arthur and his team, Hillmorton under 12s, saw parents turn up in fancy dress to help add £700 to the total.

Louise said: “We were worried about Halloween, and how strange it would feel without Fred, but this was such a positive, joyful thing to do. Lots of people got involved and shared photos.

“One of the other teenagers who was treated alongside Fred completed and shared all of the challenges, which was lovely to see.

“Everyone has been so lovely and lots of people have said that it was better than normal trick-or-treating, and they hope we can do it every year.

“Mark Udall and Sue Protheroe, who organised the trail, put in so much work, too.

“It meant such a lot to us to have Fred remembered in this way. He grew up in the village and was always out and about, so it’s lovely to feel that he’s still such a big part of it.

“Although it’s been difficult to see people during lockdown, it was wonderful to see so many people out on the streets as we wandered around.”

Stephen Humphries, Fundraising Development Manager at CCLG, said: “It’s been lovely to see Fred’s family make their mark on Halloween in his memory with the help of all of their supporters.

“It appears their fundraising creativity may well have changed the face of Halloween traditions in their local area and I think that’s a very fitting tribute to Fred and his love for Halloween.”

Visit https://tinyurl.com/yxtf8ncy for more information about Fred and his Don’t Look Down Fund.

Visit https://tinyurl.com/yycmt9s3 to donate.

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