Young fundraisers inspired by Captain Tom take on their own challenge for Sunderland Royal Hospital

A Sunderland family have launched their own COVID-19 fundraising challenge after being inspired by Captain Tom Moore.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 5:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 7:00 pm
Captain Tom Moore, 99. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The 99-year-old British Army veteran has collected more than £27 million for NHS Charities Together since setting out to complete 100,000 laps of his back garden.

And now a pair of youngsters from Wearside are hoping to follow his example by clocking up 100,000 steps for Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Jack Berry, 13, started the challenge with his cousin Maisie, eight, at the weekend, but the pair have already breezed past their £500 target despite being less than a tenth of the way through.

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Jack Berry, 13, started the challenge with his cousin Maisie, eight, at the weekend, but the pair have already breezed past their £500 target despite being less than a tenth of the way through.

And for Jack’s mum Sara it’s an impressive achievement considering her son’s autism means sometimes just getting him out of their South Hylton home can be difficult.

“Jack loves everything to do with the war, he is very particular about certain topics, from the Titanic to the Second World War to the Loch Ness Monster,” she said.

“He saw Captain Tom on the news and he was quite inspired by that and he came to me and said he wanted to be like him and raise money for the hospital – Jack is a frequent visitor there.

“He and Maisie are like two peas in a pod – she really looks out for him.”

Jack and Maisie

She added: “For Jack, sometime it’s a struggle just to get him out of the house with his autism and even once a day to go towards the target is an achievement in itself.”

Although the family initially hoped to raise £500 the challenge has already collected more than £650 for Sunderland Royal Hospital, chosen by Jack because he is a ‘frequent visitor’.

As well as an operation to remove his tonsils, he has also had operations on his feet and also has regular visits for check-ups on his autism and general mental health.

A pupil at Sunderland’s Barbara Priestman Academy, Jack also has selective mutism and communicates with most people using a whiteboard, except for his mum, grandmother, aunt and cousin, Maisie.

Rachel Hargreaves, headteacher at the school, said: “I think it’s wonderful pupils are thinking about helping other people and want to do something positive.”

Visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sara-berry18 to find out more.

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