Fan honoured for Old Trafford charity walk
A young Manchester United fan from Northern Ireland has been awarded the Diana Award after completing a 10-day charity walk between his hometown of Larne and Old Trafford.
Ben Dickinson's 'Miles for Meals' campaign saw the 10-year-old walk 64 miles in total, raising more than £28,000 for food poverty charity, FairShare. This amount of money translated to over 115,000 meals for those that need them.
At the end of his walk, which took place in March, Ben was presented with a signed Manchester United shirt by Sir Alex Ferguson, who congratulated him on his achievement.
Ben also gained support from other United greats such as Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney.
The Diana Award is presented annually to outstanding young people aged between nine and 25 years old who have selflessly created positive change in their communities. And Ben, whose 'Miles for Meals' campaign followed his previous achievement of raising £7,000 for the Northern Ireland Hospice, is a worthy recipient.
Upon being awarded the accolade, Ben said: “I never could have imagined that the small ideas I came up with in my bedroom to keep me active and raise some money for two worthy charities could grow so big or have such a massive impact on the lives of people across the UK.
“I didn’t do it for reward, I just wanted to help young people less fortunate than myself in a fun way, so to win the Diana Award doing something I enjoy is just the icing on the cake.”
In addition to meeting Sir Alex at Old Trafford, the 10-year-old was presented on the pitch at half-time to share his remarkable achievement.
John Shiels, Chief Executive of Manchester United Foundation, congratulated the youngster after he received the Diana Award, saying: “It was a pleasure to meet such an inspiring young boy and support him as he tackles the important issue of food poverty in the UK.
“Ben’s compassion for others shines through and it is clear to see that he truly cares about making a positive difference in the lives of those who need it most, so we are thrilled to see him win this award.”
The Northern Irish Red who is inspiring us all
Ben is set to walk from Northern Ireland to OT, all to raise 50,000 meals for Marcus Rashford's FareShare campaign...
Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of The Diana Award, also praised Ben's efforts by commenting: “The Diana Award was established with a core aim of recognising extraordinary young people who are selflessly leading positive social change, and Ben could not be more deserving of this accolade.
“His incredible act of generosity and selflessness will go a long way in helping many people across Northern Ireland and beyond, and will most certainly have a lasting impact.
“We would like to thank Ben for his huge contribution to society and extend a warm congratulations on winning the Diana Award - we can’t wait to see what he does next.”
Kenny Bruce, owner of Larne FC, nominated the young United fan for the honour, and issued his congratulations.
He said: “Ben deserves this award and more for what he has achieved at such a young age, and you can bet there is more to come from him.”