North Devon hero Max raises £500,000 by sleeping outside for a year
- Credit: Devon Star Media
An 11-year-old boy from Braunton who has raised more than £500,000 for the North Devon Hospice by camping out in his garden has now successfully completed his challenge to sleep outside for a year.
Over the past year Max Woosey has inspired people around the globe with his incredible fundraising efforts. His commitment to fundraising for the North Devon Hospice has turned him into a local celebrity, with many appearances on the BBC, ITV and Sky News.
Monday, March 29, marked the extraordinary achievement of camping outside in his tent every night for a year. To celebrate, Max became the focal point of a worldwide event which encouraged children all over the globe to take part in ‘Max’s Big Camp Out’.
“Breaking the half-a-million pounds mark is just amazing,” said Max. “It’s been an epic adventure and I’m still not sure when I’m going to go back and sleep in my own bed! When I saw those videos with messages of support from Bear Grylls and Jonny Wilkinson I was speechless!
“That was epic, so too a video message from Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell last week. I even got a signed shirt from all the Chiefs players.
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“Thank you so much everyone who’s helped and supported me. It’s been an amazing adventure, probably not the one our neighbour Rick meant, but he’d be well pleased now!”
Max’s Big Camp Out turned into a global event. In fact, in the run up to the event Max was interviewed on NBC’s Breakfast Show, sharing his story and his Big Camp Out plans to a national audience across the USA.
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Max Woosey has slept in a tent in his family’s back garden every single night since the March 28, 2020. His motivation was to raise money for the North Devon Hospice, which looked after family friend Rick Abbott who passed away on valentine’s day last year.
Rick was a keen adventurer, camper and outdoor sports enthusiast and shortly before dying he brought his tent over to Max, then aged 10, telling him ‘promise me you’ll have your own adventures in it’.
Max only had the one opportunity to go camping with his dad on Exmoor before Covid struck and the country was in lockdown. However, wanting to stick to his promise he kept badgering mum and dad to let him sleep outside in the garden, telling them ‘that’s what Rick would have wanted’.
Max’s mum Rachael Woosey said: “We are all so proud of Max. The Big Camp Out idea was the icing on the cake really, as it gave children all over the world a chance to join in and make a difference. That was wonderful to see. We’ve received messages from people from far and wide, including local people who are so grateful for the fantastic care our Hospice provides.”
Tim Cooke, co-founder of Devon Star Media, said: “It’s been an absolute privilege for us to work with Max and his family. It’s not often that we find ourselves linking up with just about every national tv channel and newspaper, let alone broadcasters abroad, including NBC in America. His story has gone global and Max is rightly proud of all that he has achieved. In the months to come it will be thanks to him that the Hospice will be able to care for many more end-of-life patients and their families. He’s a star!”
Stephen Roberts, North Devon Hospice CEO, said: “To us here at North Devon Hospice, Max is a hero and we're all so proud of what he's achieved. His fundraising, which has now topped £500,000 will help us carry on caring for local people in their hour of need. For a boy of his age to have made such a difference like this is unheard of. We thank him, and all those who have supported him, from the bottom of our hearts.”