Captain Tom is now a household name. The one hundred-year-old ex-serviceman, who raised almost £33m for the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic by completing one hundred laps of his garden before his one hundredth birthday, received a coveted gold Blue Peter badge for his extraordinary feet. But his efforts have had a wider effect than simply supporting our NHS superheroes. Not only has he given our health service a financial shot in the arm, but he has also inspired a younger generation to follow in his footsteps.
Emily Caffrey from Harrogate and Tobias Weller from Sheffield are 7 and 9 years old respectively. There is almost a century between them and their mentor Captain Tom, yet both have been inspired to emulate the British army veteran. Whilst the two children may have youth on their side, they have their own challenges to overcome. Emily and Tobias have cerebral palsy. Tobias also has autism, whilst Emily has a brain malformation. Both are unable to walk unaided and use walkers to get around.
On seeing Captain Tom’s endeavours, Emily, whose father formerly served in the RAF, decided on a ten-mile challenge which she committed to completing in just one week. All proceeds would go to NHS Charities Together. Meanwhile, Tobias chose to take on a lockdown marathon of 42.2km by walking 750 metres every morning. To date he has covered over half the distance and has raised over £15,000 of his £30,000 target for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces School.
I think we can all agree that their achievements are nothing short of incredible. Their generosity, ingenuity and sheer determination is making a tangible difference for the organisations they are supporting. Perhaps more significantly, they, like Captain Tom, are proof that, even during these tough times, there is so much we can all do to help those around us.