A Braunton’s boy’s epic charity camp out has hit national and international news headlines.
Max Woosey, aged 10, began his mission on the first day of lockdown in March, vowing to camp in his garden every night until it was all over.
When news spread of him reaching his 200th consecutive night sleeping outside in his tent, his story was broadcast far and wide, leading to an incredible surge in donations that have so far reached £80,000.
In the last week he has appeared live on BBC national news, Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show, This Morning and Good Morning Britain.
His story has also featured in national newspapers as well as People Magazine in the USA and One News New Zealand, to name a few.
The world has been captured not only by Max’s determination, but the poignant reason behind his sponsored camp-out.
Earlier this year, Max’s neighbour and close family friend, Rick, died aged 74. The Woosey family helped care for Rick in his final weeks, with the support of North Devon Hospice.
Not long before he died Rick, himself an intrepid adventurer, gave Max his trusty tent.
“He told me to go and have adventures with this tent, and that’s what I’ve done.” said Max.
“He was an amazing man, really fit and sporty, and the only time I saw him inside was when he was watching the rugby. We became good friends.”
The reaction to Max’s milestone 200th night outdoors was remarkable. A flood of donations to his Just Giving page came in from across the UK and further afield.
He was sitting an already impressive total of £14,500, but this has swelled to a staggering £80,000 in less than a week.
Max’s mum, Rachael Woosey, said they were overwhelmed by the support shown by the public, and the money raised would help a cause close to their hearts.
She said: “It will make a huge difference to the hospice. They’ve lost so much fundraising in lockdown and during the coronavirus. Their shops have been closed for long periods and all fundraising events have had to be cancelled, so they’ve missed out on an awful lot of funding that they rely on.
“We have been blown away by the reaction and we’re just so grateful that people have chosen to donate to the cause having been inspired by Max’s efforts. We’re so proud of him.”
Although he has reached 200 nights outside, and winter is fast approaching, Max has another target in mind and his goal now is to camp out for a whole year.
The events of 2020 have had a profound effect on North Devon Hospice, but Max’s exploits have been a rare ray of sunshine, said hospice chief executive Stephen Roberts.
He said: “Max is an absolute hospice hero, and we’re all so proud of what he’s achieved. I’m not surprised that the wider world has been inspired by his story, but the level of support has been incredible and will make a real difference to the patients and familes we care for. “Coronavirus has been a real double-whammy for the hospice. There has been an increase in demand for our care, but at the same time our ability to raise funds to make this care possible has just collapsed.
“So, the money Max has raised, thanks to thousands of generous people far and wide, will genuinely make a huge difference to people’s lives. It will help us to carry on caring for local people in their hour of need.”
Sponsor Max for his incredible lockdown campout at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/max-woosey1 .