Dobson to Host Ben’s Fund Christmas Cracker tea party

A CHRISTMAS Cracker Tea Party to raise proceeds towards local charity Ben’s Fund will be held in the Constituency Office of Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson on the morning of Friday 14 December from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Mrs Dobson said: “Ben’s Fund was founded in June this year and provides help to parents and guardians of fully ventilated & trached children in Northern Ireland.

“The inspiration behind the charity is two year old Ben Johnston from Waringstown, who at such a young ages relies on a tracheostomy & is ventilator dependant twenty four hours a day - seven days a week.

“I first met Ben and his parents Ciara and Andy when they contacted me when I was a Craigavon Councillor and knowing their enthusiasm and positivity towards helping families placed in a similar situation to themselves am extremely supportive of the aims of their fund. Ben has achieved so much in his young life and is now helping others who are going through a similar situation as he did.

“Through his charity Ben and his parents are helping children who have been discharged, or who have recently been discharged from regional pediatric intensive care.

“Anyone who has a child who is dependent on new medical technology will know the day to day struggles and challenges which this entails for mums and dads locally, and indeed across Northern Ireland. As well as the increased household bills there are transport arrangements to be made and equipment to be purchased to make life more bearable.

“Any help which can relieve these pressures is always welcome and that is why donating to Ben’s fund is so important because that help goes directly to the families affected.

“It was a pleasure for me to meet with Ben, his twin Leo and parents Ciara and Andy recently at their home to finalise the arrangements for the Christmas Cracker Tea Party. We are all confident that through this event we can raise the vital funds needed to help the many families with young children who are struggling with the day to day challenges of living with fully ventilated & trached children.

“A small donation can go a very long way indeed, and I would encourage people to call into my office at any stage in the morning of Friday 14 December to support the Tea Party, or to call in at any time to buy raffle tickets for the fantastic hamper which has been donated by Heather Saunderson of Truly Gifted in Magheralin and other fabulous prizes. The hamper is on display in my office at the moment.

“Mrs Dobson’s office is located at 18 Rathfriland Street Banbridge BT32 3LA and further details are available on the Ben’s Fund website at