A young boy spent his second consecutive Christmas night sleeping in a tent – raising nearly £700k in the process.
Max Woosey, 12, has spent the last year camping out at an exotic list of locations – including London Zoo, 10 Downing Street and Twickenham Rugby Stadium.
He has now spent more than 600 nights in a row outside – and has vowed to continue until at least the two year anniversary of the start of his camp out in March next year.
Max has now raised £685k – enough to pay the annual salary of TWENTY hospice nurses.
The efforts of the inspirational schoolboy has been described as “insane” by the North Devon Hospice.
The sleep out began on March 27 last year in memory of Max’s friend and neighbour, Rick Abbot, who died in February 2019.
Rick, who was 74, had given Max a tent and told him to have an adventure with it, so he decided to camp out in the garden of his family home in Braunton, Devon.
And although he came inside to enjoy a family Christmas dinner and present opening, he did not break his run of sleeping outside over the festive period.
Reflecting on the last year, which also saw him pick up a Pride of Britain award, Max said: “The whole thing has been a bit of a dream. I have met so many amazing people and done so many amazing things such as going to Twickenham and 10 Downing Street.
“I managed to pitch it in London Zoo that was phenomenal and definitely another highlight.
“It has been incredible and just going to the Pride of Britain was amazing. There has been so many highlights.
“The tent is now my home and I don’t know how to sleep in bed. I don’t think I would be able to sleep inside now.”
Max said during the time of his challenge he has slept in 14 different tents – but there was never in his thoughts to give himself a Christmas indoors.
“Christmas in the tent is great. I love it. Sleeping wise, it is getting a bit cold and wet so it is not great for weather but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Next year I will do the Big Camp out again to mark the anniversary and I think it will be another nice year – full of unexpected surprises.
“It is just a really nice feeling inside knowing I have helped to raise so much money. I am just really thankful for everyone who has donated. The hospice are the real heroes and do all the hard work.”
Mum Rachael Woosey, 49, praised her son’s staying power and the whole family were incredibly proud of what he had achieved.
She added: “He is refusing to come in and now wants to get to at least two years, which will be to the end of March.
“It has been an incredible year and a bit bonkers really. He has pitched a tent at 10 Downing Street, at London Zoo and ahs won a Pride of Britain award. He has also started secondary school in amongst everything.
“We are so proud. He is such a lovely young man and has stayed very grounded about everything he has been through.
“He changed schools this year and to his new classmates and friends this is the only Max they have known. I think they think it is a little odd but it is what he does.”
Rachael said that on Christmas day itself, Max came in for presents and they had a family celebration with plenty of relatives visiting them.
She added: “We had a lovely big family celebration and then Max went to sleep outside.
“It was lovely to have all the family together but there was no way of dragging Max back into his bedroom at the end of it. He still sleeps so well out there.
“He has now raised £573k and with gift aid that totals around £685k. It is incredible really and not bad for sleeping. We are all so proud of what he is doing.”
North Devon Hospice has said the money equated to almost 20 nurses working for 12 months.
At the time Max started the challenge the hospice was facing a £1m drop in funding because of the lockdown.
Spokesperson Leo Cooper said: “I cannot over-emphasise how important his fundraising has been,” he said.
“At lockdown we were looking at the prospect of losing £1m, that adds up to a whole lot of care that we cannot provide and it was needed, especially during the lockdown.
“Max’s fundraising equates to almost 20 nurses for the whole year, so that gives you an idea of the scale.”
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/max-woosey1