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Fishing contest entrants are hoping to hook a bumper catch of cash for seriously ill youngster

PUBLISHED: 11:28 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:31 17 June 2019

Five-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has a rare form of brain cancer, with mum Julie and dad Kevin and siblings (from left) Ruby, 10, Brannigan, 12 and Rosie, 8. 
Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Five-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has a rare form of brain cancer, with mum Julie and dad Kevin and siblings (from left) Ruby, 10, Brannigan, 12 and Rosie, 8. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

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A group of north Norfolk fishing fans are hoping to hook a bumper catch of cash, at an angling competition they have organised to help a seriously ill five-year-old and his family.

Five-year-old Benny Pitcher (left), his mum Julie, dad, Kevin, and siblings Ruby, 10, Brannigan, 12 and Rosie, 8 with friends Claire and Michael Gill, who have organised a fishing match to raise cash to support the family while Benny goes through treatment for a rare form of childhood brain cancer.
Picture: KAREN BETHELLFive-year-old Benny Pitcher (left), his mum Julie, dad, Kevin, and siblings Ruby, 10, Brannigan, 12 and Rosie, 8 with friends Claire and Michael Gill, who have organised a fishing match to raise cash to support the family while Benny goes through treatment for a rare form of childhood brain cancer. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

Since East Runton youngster Benny Pitcher was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of childhood brain cancer three months ago, axfundraising appeal has topped £8,000, with friends and well-wishers organising events ranging from car boot sales, to a crazy golf day.

The latest of these will see more than 30 people take part in a fishing contest on Weybourne beach on Saturday, before enjoying a barbecue at the home of event organisers Michael and Claire Gill.

Julie and Kevin Pitcher with their five-year-old son Benny, who has a rare and aggressive form of childhood brain cancer.
Picture: KAREN BETHELLJulie and Kevin Pitcher with their five-year-old son Benny, who has a rare and aggressive form of childhood brain cancer. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

The couple have also drummed up raffle prizes including restaurant vouchers, a fishing trip to Norway and a £50 voucher for Priory Maze and Gardens, which has also donated year's pass to the Pitcher family.

Although doctors cannot operate, Benny, who is a pupil at Sheringham Primary School, has just completed the first of three courses of radiotherapy and his parents, Kevin and Julie, are now waiting for the results of a scan, which they hope will show the growth of the tumour has been slowed down.

However, side-effects from steroids have led the youngster to put on weight and given him a swollen face and aching joints.

"It is just palliative care and, at the moment, we are just focusing on dealing with everyday life," Mrs Pitcher said. "And although it is stressful, the community has been great and we have had people we don't even know wanting to support us in different ways."

The couple are now planning to take Benny, his older brother Branningan, 12, and sisters Ruby, 10, and Rosie, 8, on a trip to Disneyland Paris.

They also hope to adapt their house to accommodate Benny's needs as his illness progresses.

Mum-of-three Mrs Gill, who has already sold more than £300-worth of raffle tickets, said: "We were devastated when we heard about Benny and we wanted to raise some money to help his dreams come true. We can't imagine what his family is going through and, as a parent, it makes you realise just how lucky you are."

Fishing for Benny runs at Weybourne beach on Saturday (June 22) from 8am-1pm, with a barbecue and raffle from 2pm onwards. Entry is £5, with also proceeds going to the Pitcher family. To book a place, phone 07387 716784. To donate to Benny's appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bennytoeurodisney

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