THE family and friends of a former Penarth school pupil who died at the finish line of the 2018 Cardiff Half Marathon have organised a festival event to raise funds in his memory, with popstar Charlotte Church set to perform.

Ben McDonald suffered a cardiac arrest at the finish line of the race in October last year.

The twenty-five-year-old was immediately attended, but could not be saved.

The event organised by his family, called The BenJam, will be held today at the Depot, in Dumballs Road, Cardiff, from 6pm.

It will include live music, food and stalls to bring people together, celebrate Ben’s life and raise awareness and funds for charity Welsh Hearts.

Bands will be performing for free, with Dinas Powys resident Miss Church among them.

The family of Mr McDonald, who was from Wenvoe, said: “Our world was completely turned upside down when our brother died. He was fit and healthy, and his death has left our family shattered.

“Ben was great at pulling people together, organising events, hosting BBQ’s, gorge walking or impromptu camping trips. He made good friends wherever he went.

“So 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.

“We chose to support the work of Welsh Hearts, and all proceeds will go to them. We chose Welsh Hearts because we believe in their work installing defibrillators across Wales and offering heart screening.

“We don’t know if screening would have helped, and unfortunately the defibrillator wasn’t able to save his life, but at least we know that he was given that chance. We believe everyone should be given the same if they are in a similar situation.”

Welsh Hearts will be holding a free heart screening at St Cyres, Mr McDonald’s old school, in October.

Sharon Owens, director of Welsh Hearts, said: “We will fight for every child to be screened for free.”

The Benjam is open to all ages. See