EASTER weekend will see the third annual fundraising event held in memory of Blyth soldier Michael Sweeney – and this year it will be bigger than ever.
Michael, 19, was killed on April 1, 2010, after he stepped on an improvised explosive device in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
And ever since, his family and friends have been raising money for the Army Benevolent Fund in Michael’s name – amounting to more than £35,000 to date.
Blyth Town Fair – supported by Blyth Town Council – will be held on Saturday between 10am and 4pm – having increased three-fold on last year.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the event, which will include a live broadcast from Koast Radio.
Entertainment will be provided by stilt walkers, magicians and face painters and there will be fun-fair rides, inflatables, laser quest, bungee trampolining and pony and trap rides for small children.
Various stalls will serve cakes and food and there will be a tombola.
A military spin will be provided by the Territorial Army and Northumbria Army Cadets, who will be providing military vehicles and activities including paintballing and a climbing wall.
Most activities are free, by donation only or for a small, nominal fee.
Michael’s mum, Kim, who is married to Michael Snr and has another son, Sean, said: “It doesn’t feel like three years since Michael died.
“We still feel his loss as though it recently had happened.
“We continue to receive loving support from family, friends and even strangers that have come to know us through our fundraising efforts.
“Michael’s army friends still keep in touch and we regularly have his friends come up from Windsor to spend time with us and visit Michael.
“They plan on putting together a football team to play in our annual football fundraiser, which is May 4 at the Spartans’ home ground, playing Michael’s local friends, which is a great day.”
Kim added: “I would like to thank everyone for their support in helping keep memories alive.
“He would be so proud of everything that has been achieved and the support everyone gives.”