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Hundreds line streets to say final farewell to six-year-old ‘superhero’ Benny Pitcher

PUBLISHED: 11:06 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 06 August 2020

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

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His life may have been cruelly cut short, but the impression made on the north Norfolk community by six-year-old “superhero” Benny Pitcher will not easily be forgotten.

Benny in happier days, before he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Photo: contributedBenny in happier days, before he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. Photo: contributed

Families in their hundreds lined the streets of Cromer yesterday, to say farewell to the courageous youngster as he made his final journey in a horse-drawn, rainbow-themed carriage, with youngsters, parents and friends waving flags and donning superhero outfits as a tribute to the pint-sized Avengers fan.

Benny, who dreamed of being a train driver, defied doctors’ expectations after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of childhood brain cancer with a life expectancy of nine-to-12 months in March of last year.

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

He died in the arms of his parents, Kevin and Julie, at his East Runton home on July 12, with his grandparents and his brother Brannigan and sisters Ruby and Roseanna close by. His story inspired thousands, with the towns of Holt, Sheringham and Cromer rallying to raise cash to build the Sheringham Primary School pupil a bedroom and wetroom extension, which, sadly, was just a week from completion when he lost the fight against diffuse pontine glioma, for which there is no cure.

The Rev Canon Christian Heycocks, who is vicar of Sheringham benefice and an honorary canon of Norwich Cathedral, led a heart-rending service for close friends and family at Cromer Crematorium, remembering Benny’s sunny personality and his love of family board games, trains and feeding the seagulls on the seafront.

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

Music included the theme from Benny’s favourite TV show, Thomas and Friends, and, in a nod to his fun-loving personality, the hit pop song Gangnam Style, by PSY, with Mr Heycocks also reading the poem Little Snowdrop, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and the Julia Donaldson book, Stick Man.

Mr Heycocks spoke of the family’s “utter devastation” at their loss, of their love for their happy, lovable son, brother and grandson, and, on their behalf, asked mourners to be inspired by Benny’s journey and leave the service with a determination to be “kind, helpful and to love one another.”

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

Benny’s parents, Mr Heycocks added, felt “inspired, lucky, blessed and hopeful” by their “superhero” son, for whom they would continue “to be a voice until the last day of their lives”.

Donations to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and Cromer Children’s Charity can be sent in Benny’s memory to Cromer and District Independent Funeral Service, 32 West Street, Cromer, NR27 9DS or via www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/onefamilyforbrighton

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

People, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen BethellPeople, many dressed in superhero costumes, lined the streets of Cromer for the funeral procession of Benny Pitcher, who died aged six. Picture: Karen Bethell

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Benny's parents Kevin and Julie, with his brother Brannigan and sisters, Ruby and Roseanna.
Photo: Karen BethellBenny's parents Kevin and Julie, with his brother Brannigan and sisters, Ruby and Roseanna. Photo: Karen Bethell

Benny's parents Kevin and Julie, with his brother Brannigan and sisters, Ruby and Roseanna.
Photo: Karen BethellBenny's parents Kevin and Julie, with his brother Brannigan and sisters, Ruby and Roseanna. Photo: Karen Bethell

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Hundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLHundreds turned out to say a final farewell to six-year-old Benny Pitcher, who has lost his battle against brain cancer. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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