Southwater boy completes charity ‘AntiScreenathon’

JPCT 261113 Ben Middleton, 9, avoided screens for a week to raise money for Philippines and raised �400. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 261113 Ben Middleton, 9, avoided screens for a week to raise money for Philippines and raised �400. Photo by Derek Martin

In a world dominated by technology many of us could not cope without our computers, mobile phones or televisions for more than a couple of days.

However, nine-year-old Ben Middleton has done exactly that - raising more than £400 for those affected by the typhoon in the Philippines by completing a week-long ‘AntiScreenathon’.

Ben said: “When I saw the footage, I wanted to help the people in the Philippines.

“They won’t have any screens because of the typhoon, so I decided to have what they would have.

“I thought they might be in danger, no food, houses destroyed, and the airport was damaged.”

Ben, who lives in Southwater and attends Southwater Junior School, avoided technology from November 15-22 - only using screens for educational purposes at school.

The biggest challenge for the Formula One fan was missing the grand prix in the USA, but the challenge ended before last Sunday’s race in Brazil.

Ben added: “Some bits were hard, one of the hard bits was when we went to London because there were quite a lot of screens.

“I just concentrated on where I was going!”

Ben was kept occupied by playing chess, doing puzzles, drawing and reading, as he received donations from as far afield as Tokyo and New Zealand.

His mother Jo explained that an illness that kept Ben from school for three days wasn’t ‘planned’ and he was allowed to watch an ‘educational’ hour-long documentary about Pompeii.

She said: “I am incredibly proud, I think it is a massive challenge for any child nowadays.

“That is why people have donated so generously, because they see that people in the Philippines need the help but it is a really hard thing to do at the same time.”

Ben also helped to organise a bake sale with some friends, which raised a further £120 for Save the Children.

However, he was not able to do his maths homework this week - as it involved using a computer.

Jo added: “We had some really lovely messages even from people in the Philippines, saying thank you and that is really nice but we had to tell Ben because he couldn’t look at them!”

Ben is still hoping to collect donations, and these can be made online at http://www.justgiving.com/bens-antiscreenathon.