Boy receives New Year honour after camping challenge raises more than £500,000 for local hospice

·2-min read
Mas Woosey has been camping in his garden since March 2020 (via REUTERS)
Mas Woosey has been camping in his garden since March 2020 (via REUTERS)

A 12-year-old boy who raised enough money for his local hospice to hire 16 additional nurses is amongst those who have been recognised by the Queen in the New Year’s honours list.

Max Woosey, from Braunton in Devon, has spent every night sleeping in a tent since March 28, 2020 to raise money for the North Devon Hospice.

His efforts, which have raised more than £575,000 so far, are being rewarded with the British Empire Medal.

Woosey started the initiative, named Max’s Big Camp Out, after the hospice helped care for a close family friend, Rick Abbot, 74, in the last days of his life.

Abbot, who was a keen camper, gifted Woosey his tent before he died, telling him: “Promise me you’ll have your own adventures in it.”

To mark one year of his campaign, on 27 March Woosey invited children from across the world to spend the night sleeping in a tent in their gardens and raise money for a charity of their choice.

More than 2,0000 children from the UK, US, Europe, Asia and Australia took part.

The younsgter has also received messages of support from outdoor adventurer Bear Grylls who said Woosey has an “adventure spirit” that is “rare and special”.

Max Woosey has been camping outdoors since March 2020 (PA)
Max Woosey has been camping outdoors since March 2020 (PA)

Former rugby player Jonny Wilkinson said he was in “awe” of the 12-year-old. “Keep being exactly who you are and being true to this energy in you to do amazing things for others,” he said in a video message.

During his time sleeping outdoors, Woosey also spent a night at London Zoo.

“We were right next to the lion enclosure so the lions in that zoo, they face the walls when they roar to make it echo and make it louder, and it scares you so much,” he said.

On a typical night, some of Woosey’s biggest challenges were high winds and sharing his sleeping space with slugs, spiders and worms,

“And a lot of red ants – they came for a bit of a midnight feast which was unfortunately me,” he said.

Speaking about the British Empire Medal, Woosey said he hopes the award will help raise more money for the hospice.

“I’m so excited to see how this all goes for the hospice because they are the true heroes, they’ve done all the incredible work to help people.”

As for what Abbott would make of how far the challenge has come, Woosey said: “I think he would definitely be surprised but I definitely think he would be in another tent beside me doing this 100 per cent with me.”

You can donate to Woosey’s campaign here.

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