A young boy who has slept in a tent every night for two years is ending his charity camp-out this weekend – having raised £700,000.
Max Woosey, 12, has camped out at an exotic list of locations – including London Zoo, 10 Downing Street and Twickenham Rugby Stadium.
This weekend will mark the two year anniversary since the start of his camp out in March 2020.
In that time he has raised £598k – which is more than £700k including Gift Aid – enough to pay the annual salary of TWENTY hospice nurses.
His final Big Camp Out was on Saturday night where he was joined by celebrity backers including Carol Vorderman and fellow Pride of Britain winners including Hughie and Freddie, Stephen Wharton and Harmonie-Rose Allen.
The event will begin at an undisclosed site in Braunton, Devon, on Saturday at 2pm and will feature live music throughout the day.
But despite drawing the formal fundraising to a close, his mum Rachael Woosey said Max was not coming indoors anytime soon – as camping outside had become “a way for life” for him.
She said: “After the two years passes this weekend, we will become a lot more passive. There will be no need to do social media and we will wind the fund raising down.
“Max will then quietly do this thing and it will become less about fund raising and more just a way of life.
“It has been two years of his life that has been amazing and a real adventure for him. But I think he maybe just needs a bit of normality and not have people caring about where he sleeps all the time.
“But he is not coming in though and wants to stay sleeping in his tent. He said he will consider sleeping in a hotel if we go away but that is his only concession.
“He’s happy out there and there would be more distractions inside. Now he’s at secondary school, I’d just rather he was getting a good night’s sleep.”
The efforts of the inspirational schoolboy has been described as “insane” by the North Devon Hospice.
The sleep out began on March 27 2020 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.
Rachael said Max’s longevity had surprised many family members but they were incredibly proud of his achievements.
She added: “A lot of family members thought enough was enough after six months and there was a big pull to get him back inside.
“As far as we are concerned if he is in fresh air and sleeping well then we don’t have a problem with it.
“We are all incredibly proud of what he has done and we love he has done it all off his own back. He has shown children can make a difference and have a go at something. It would have been very easy not to have let him have a go but what he has done has been remarkable.
“He will be out for the full two years so the last night will be on Monday night. It will be quite emotional and I will camp out with him again that night to finish it off. But that will be a private time for us – the big public event to close it is on Saturday.
“What he has achieved for the hospice has made such a difference. But as an individual he has also grown in confidence and that will set him up for the future. He has an amazing sense of self now and will carry that forward I am sure.
“The support we have had from everyone has been amazing and I would like to thank everyone for really getting behind Max the way they have. To achieve so much by sleeping in his tent has been remarkable really.”
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.
He added: “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.”
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.
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/max-woosey1