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Little Leo’s big challenge for children’s hospice

13 May 2021 chsw Fundraising

An eight-year-old boy from Barnstaple has completed a marathon-sized fundraising challenge for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW). 

Leo Withers ran the equivalent of 26.2 miles in 10 days after reading about the charity and how it helps local families in the North Devon Gazette.

The Fremington Primary School pupil started on May 1 and covered the distance with daily after-school runs near his home in Sticklepath, and in his garage on his dad Alex’s treadmill. 

Alex said Leo was also inspired by 11-year-old Max Woosey from Braunton, who has raised thousands of pounds for North Devon Hospice during the last 12 months by camping out in his back garden.

“Leo has always been caring but in lockdown, like many, I think he felt a bit restless and came up with the idea of doing a 10-day marathon challenge,” said Alex.

He really surprised us as he finds it tough being out of his comfort zone and struggles to believe in himself, especially when it comes to sport.

Mum Kelly said the daily runs had been a challenge for Leo, but knowing he was helping other children had spurred him on.

She said: “Some nights he’s been really happy to do the challenge and other nights it’s been a mental battle for him.

But knowing that he was helping other children has got him through each run.

"He’s feeling very proud of himself and he has realised that one act of kindness has a huge knock-on effect. 

“He has also gained so much confidence because he has realised with a bit of perseverance everyone can achieve great things,” added Kelly.

Leo has already raised more than £500 for CHSW, which supports more than 200 families at its Little Bridge House children’s hospice in Fremington.

Emma Perry, head of fundraising at Little Bridge House, said: “Leo is truly inspiring and an incredible young man and we are so honoured that he has chosen to support CHSW with such an amazing fundraising challenge.

“Every penny Leo has been able to raise will help provide vital care and support to local children with life-limiting conditions and their families.”

Sponsor Leo