02:00PM, Thursday 11 February 2021
Having been inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to take on a charity challenge in aid of the NHS, seven-year-old Toby Dudderidge is now inspiring others with his own fundraising feat.
At the turn of the year Toby, who lives close to Pinkneys Green Cricket Club in Maidenhead, was discussing New Year’s resolutions with his father Simon, and told him he’d like to take on a challenge like Captain Sir Tom to raise some money for NHS Charities Together.
They discussed a few options before settling on running 200 laps of the Pinkneys Green Cricket Club perimeter before the end of January, a challenge that’s seen the St Piran’s School pupil trudge through heavy rain and snow, both in the light and dark of the day. In total he’s covered 92km and raised £1,816 with gift aid for the NHS, smashing his target of £200 by 738 per cent.
His dad Simon, who plays cricket for Pinkneys Green, couldn’t be prouder of him, and hopes it will show his son that no challenge, however big, is insurmountable if you put your mind to it.
“Toby had been watching the news and said he wanted to do something for charity,” said Simon. “We spoke about what sort of challenge he could do, and he said ‘maybe I could do laps around my house like Captain Tom? I said ‘I think you might have to do a bit more than that because Captain Tom is 100.
“So, we spoke about doing laps of the cricket pitch at Pinkneys Green and in the end, we worked out what was achievable. I’ll be honest, the first few days we weren’t even sure if we should try and raise money because we weren’t sure if he could do it. But it soon became apparent that he could do more than three laps a day, he could do 10 or 12. He absolutely smashed it over the first 10 days, so we went out and told everyone.”
Simon added: “Firstly, he’s seven years old and I was struggling with it. And it was impressive that he kept going every day even though the weather was pretty terrible.
“We’ve got videos of him running in the snow, and at 6am in the morning. Being small we wanted him to have plenty of rest days. So, he had some big runs from time to time. Some of the days he just had to get out there and do it.”
St Piran’s School recognised Toby’s efforts and helped publicise and support the challenge, while the cricket club where he plays for the All-Stars juniors’ side, did likewise.
Simon admits he’s been ‘a little smug’ after running 92kms in less than a month, but also said he’s very proud of himself and can’t wait to set himself a new challenge.
“He is chuffed,” he said. “He’s also a little bit smug about it to be fair, and a little modest, but I think he’s very proud of himself.
“It’s made him realise that if he thinks there’s something he can’t do, he can relate to this situation and think ‘do you know what, I probably can do it.
“He just wanted to help. He got quite emotional watching the news about the COVID situation, and kids know more about it than you think. £1,500 is quite a significant amount of money to have raised and it’s also helped keep him fit and mentally strong.
“A lot of parents have said to me, ‘can you send over a few videos because we’re struggling to get our kids outside’. So, it has inspired others to get out as well.
“To know he’s inspired others is cool.
“My daughter, who is five, is now asking what she can do.
“I told her I think everyone has probably spent their money now, so let’s think about something next year.”
Click here to visit Toby's fundraising page
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