Former Mirfield Free Grammar pupil overcomes muscle-wasting disease to lead fundraising walk

ACHIEVEMENT: Ben completed two of the three peaks in seven hours.

ACHIEVEMENT: Ben completed two of the three peaks in seven hours.

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A FAMILY has set up a charity to support a rugby player who has been diagnosed with a muscle-wasting disease.

Ben Booth, 19, has been diagnosed with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type two and his family has set up the B Baggins Foundation to raise money to support sufferers and pay for research into a cure.

Former Mirfield Free Grammar School pupil Ben was a talented rugby union player but his condition means he has had to give up the sport. He is now studying electrical engineering at Huddersfield University.

He started to show symptoms about a year ago, and was eventually diagnosed with the condition last month.

He said: “At the moment it just affects the way I walk. I can’t run and it’s very hard getting up stairs or any sort of incline. In the future I’ll be wheelchair-bound and it will have to be an electric one because it will affect my arms.

“I was upset at first but there’s nothing I can do – I like to think I am quite a positive person so I am just getting on with it.”

Foundation supporters have collected 90kg of drinks cans to weigh in, some are cycling in the Scottish lochs and a family member is running a marathon in Cyprus. Ben’s older brother, Sam, is shaving his head for a year and hopes to raise £800.

And on Easter Sunday 30 supporters and Ben, of Lumb Lane, Roberttown, took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, raising more than £3,000.

Ben said: “The walk was difficult, the weather got worse and by the second peak it was awful. But I’m quite impressed that I managed to do it.”

Ben’s auntie, Carole Jackson from Dewsbury, said: “I had not appreciated just how dangerous this challenge was. We had participants falling into bogs up to their waists and someone losing the bottom of a walking boot. Ben completed two of the three peaks in seven hours.

“It was inspirational to see him and his determination pushed us all on to do more.”

Visit www.bbaggins.org or search B Baggins on Facebook.