A 13-year-old boy who has camped in a tent for the past three years has been described as a “true hero” by the charity he has raised more than £700,000 in aid of.
Max Woosey, from Braunton in Devon, has directly funded 15 nurses for a year at North Devon Hospice by spending every night since March 28, 2020 in a tent.
The teenager was inspired to help the hospice after staff cared for close family friend Rick Abbott, 74, in the last days of his life.
Before he died, Mr Abbott, a keen camper and outdoor sports enthusiast, gave Max his tent, telling him: “Promise me you’ll have your own adventures in it.”
Three years on, Max has camped in dozens of unexpected places including a night in London Zoo, on a hotel balcony and in the garden of 10 Downing Street.
He will now head back to his bedroom after holding a final celebratory camp-out festival at Broomhill Estate in North Devon on April 1.
Stephen Roberts, chief executive of North Devon Hospice paid tribute to Max’s fundraising efforts, which he said he made a difference to many people.
“Max is a true hospice hero. The end of his camping fundraising challenge should be celebrated because his efforts have made such a tangible difference to the lives of so many,” Mr Roberts said.
“At the heart of this story is the fact that Max was inspired by the care North Devon Hospice gave to his friend and neighbour, Rick, in his final days.
“When lockdown arrived soon after and the hospice’s services were under very real threat, Max wanted to make sure that other people in his community could have the same level of care Rick received.
“So he took the tent that Rick had given him, and pitched it in his back garden, promising to camp out until lockdown was over and asking friends and family to sponsor him.
“What a journey he has been on since. What an impact he has had, essentially raising enough money to fund 15 hospice community nurses for a year.”
Mr Roberts said Max’s charity challenge had come at a crucial time for the hospice, when almost all fundraising activities had been halted due to the pandemic.
The teenager has since been recognised with a Pride of Britain Award, the Bear Grylls Chief Scout Unsung Hero Award and the British Empire Medal and he delivered a Ted Talk in 2022.
Hannah Crawley, team lead on the hospice’s bedded unit, added: “Max’s amazing fundraising meant we could carry on being there for those who needed us. He helped to make dark times more bearable for hundreds of local people.
“We cannot thank him enough, and we look forward to celebrating his final camp-out together on April 1.”
Final donations to Max’s challenge can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/Max-Woosey1