Ben’s thanks for heroic pub fundraisers

Ben Parkinson is presented with the cheque for Help for Heroes. With him are those who helped organise the sponsored walk. From left to right, are Simon Walton, Phil Bailey and Mark Page.
Ben Parkinson is presented with the cheque for Help for Heroes. With him are those who helped organise the sponsored walk. From left to right, are Simon Walton, Phil Bailey and Mark Page.

PUB-GOERS wept as brave Doncaster soldier Ben Parkinson gave an emotional speech, thanking them for raising thousands of pounds for Help for Heroes.

Drinkers at the Saracen’s Head in Wath-upon-Dearne raised £9,000 for the charity through a sponsored walk they held in April.

Hero paratrooper Ben, who was seriously injured while serving in Afghanistan, was at the pub recently to accept the cheque on behalf of the charity.

After receiving it, he gave an emotionally charged thank you speech, which reduced many in attendance to tears.

Landlady Bonita Hoey said: “It was an amazing night.

“He just thanked us for all of our efforts and said he has never received a cheque as big as this apart from one which was presented to him by the Lord Mayor of Doncaster.

“He stayed most of the night and it was really great having him here with us.

“After his speech, most of us were in tears, men and women.”

Ben lost both his legs in an explosion in Helmand Province, and pub-goers were so impressed with how he has battled back they have chosen to supporting his own charity, Back Ben Parkinson.

Bonita said: “We had obviously heard about Ben, but meeting him in person really brought it home what he has gone through and the bravery he has shown.

“Through his charity, he raises money and awareness about other soldiers who have been injured in battle.

“Some of our customers are already planning to do a bungee jump later on this year to help raise money for him.”

In addition, the sponsored walk they held in April was such a success they are planning to make it an annual event.

More than 300 people in fancy dress joined the walk, which was from the Rock Tavern in Swinton back to the Saracen’s in Wath.

Bonita said: “It was such a great day out, and everybody said we need to do it again. We have had interest from other pubs already as well, so there should be even more of us on the walk next year”.