England in the fall is cool, windy and rainy but a 10-year-old boy in North Devon isn’t letting the weather break his spirit or his long-term camping plans.
“He started a couple of days after the beginning of lockdown because we actually said no when he asked the first few nights. So he’s been out there since towards the end of March,” said Rachael Woosey.
Her son Max has been sleeping in a tent in the family’s backyard for months now and loving it.
The idea was a way to pay tribute to his neighbour and friend Rick Abbott, who passed away at the age of 74.
“He was super fit, he loved the outdoors,” said Max Woosey, “like going to the gym or going on water sports, like kayaking or paddleboarding. Or camping.”
The young British boy’s backyard adventure is raising awareness and funds for North Devon Hospice.
His JustGiving online fundraising campaign describes why:
“My name is Max, I am 10 years old and I am raising money for the North Devon Hospice because they looked after our friend and enabled him to pass peacefully at home with those closest to him which was his final wish. Sadly most of the fundraising is now cancelled or closed due to Covid 19 so they are missing out on vital funds.
“My friend Rick gave me his tent before he died and made me promise to have an adventure so that’s what I’m doing.”
It’s an initiative Stephen Roberts, chief executive of North Devon Hospice, praised in an email to Global News.
“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 families we care for.
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“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.”
The family has been told the money raised is enough to pay for two hospice workers for a year.
One year is how long Max plans to stay outside, but he is trying to convince his mom to extend the timeline.
Max’s posted fundraising goal was $20,000 pounds (equivalent to C$34,000). As of Saturday morning, the total stood at GBP$75,000 (C$127,000) and still rising.