AN ENTERTAINMENT charity event in memory of a Vale runner who died following last year’s Cardiff Half Marathon is set to take place next month.

The family and friends of Ben McDonald, of Wenvoe, who died at the race finish line, on October 7, have organised a festival style event called The BenJam at Depot, Dumballs Road, in Cardiff, on Saturday, May 2.

The event includes live music, food, and stalls with the aim of bringing people together, celebrating his life, and raising awareness and funds for the Welsh Hearts charity.

Mr McDonald’s family, in a statement, said: “Our world was completely turned upside down when our brother Ben McDonald died at the finish line of the Cardiff Half Marathon.

“He was 25 years old, fit and healthy, and his death has left our family shattered.

“He was amazing.

“He was funny, generous, caring, effortlessly cool, adventurous and always smiling, an incredible son, brother, uncle, grandson, and friend.

“If you didn’t have the chance to meet him then you missed out on someone really special.

“Ben was always great at pulling people together, organising social events, hosting barbecues or pizza nights at our family home, gorge walking, or off on impromptu camping trips.

“He made good solid friends wherever he went.

“In honour of him, and because of who he was, we want to keep that connection with people going.

“We are going to celebrate Ben’s birthday in the way that he would; surrounded by people and trying to focus on the positive.”

They added: “We have chosen to support the work of Welsh Hearts and all proceeds will be going to them.

“We we believe in the work that they are doing to install defibrillators across Wales and to offer heart screening.

“Ben was also so proud to be Welsh.

“We don’t know if screening would have helped Ben, and unfortunately on the day, the defibrillator wasn’t able to save his life, but at least we know that he was given that chance.

“We believe that everyone should be given the same chance if they find themselves, or a loved one in a similar situation.”

Welsh Hearts has supplied more than 1500 defibrillators in Wales, trained more than 52,000 people in defibrillator and CPR, and screened more than 2500 young hearts for abnormalities, since 2013,.

The McDonald family recently attended the delivery of a petition to the Senedd with Welsh Hearts charity director Sharon Owen, requesting that heart screening become mandatory for all 10 to 35-year-olds.

Welsh Hearts charity director Sharon Owen said: “It’s our mission to continue to provide defibrillators throughout Wales, to continue to grow the army of individuals who are fully trained in CPR and defibrillator use, and to lead the campaign for better awareness of cardiovascular health in Wales.

“We’re so grateful to Ben’s family for choosing to support us during what has been an incredibly difficult time for them.

“It’s been an honour to get to know the people closest to Ben, and their resilience has been inspiring.

“The BenJam will be an opportunity to celebrate Ben’s life as well as spread awareness of our work and hopefully, raise vital funds to allow us to continue our work in Wales, and work towards a future where nobody dies prematurely of heart conditions that could be prevented or managed.”

Confirmed acts for The BenJam include Dyme, Jellis, and Jacob Sparkes.

A raffle will include prizes such as Glamorgan T20 tickets, quad biking, and food and drinks vouchers for bars and restaurants across Cardiff, and CIWW vouchers.

A Welsh rugby shirt, signed by the team after the Grand Slam victory this year will be auctioned for the charity, along with a rugby ball signed by Welsh Hearts ambassador and former Wales Rugby captain Sam Warburton.

The event is open to all ages.

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