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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 October 2007, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Family wants plastic pen tops ban
Ben Stirland
Ben Stirland died in January
The parents of a County Durham schoolboy, who choked to death on a plastic pen top, are stepping up their campaign to get them banned.

Ben Stirland, 13, from Consett, died in January, after swallowing the pen top while doing homework.

His parents vowed to get the tops banned after they said one acted "like a fish hook" when it became lodged in the teenager's throat.

A charity ball on Saturday aims to highlight their campaign.

The youngster's school, Moorside Community Technology College, banned plastic pen tops after the tragedy.

But his parents, Nathalie and David Hodgson, want a wider ban.

'Biggest concern'

They have organised a charity ball to highlight their campaign and to raise cash for Newcastle General Hospital, where Ben was treated for two days before he died.

Mrs Hodgson, 38, said: "Ben was very outgoing and popular at school and just loved having a laugh.

"What Ben was doing that day, chewing his pen, is what thousands of people do every day.

"Our initial and main aim is to get the pen lids banned.

"Our biggest concern is that the safety air hole and the clip, which you clip on to your jumper, acted almost like a fish hook and was difficult to remove from his throat."

Since Ben's death the family have approached various organisations, including the British Standards Institute and the Writing Instruments Association, in an effort to persuade manufacturers to stop producing pens with removable plastic tops.


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