1,000 children around the world take part in 'big camp out'


About 1,000 children have taken part in a ‘big camp-out’ inspired by an 11-year-old boy who has slept in a tent for a year.

Max Woosey, from Braunton, Devon, began his challenge after a neighbour, who later died of cancer, gave him a tent to ‘have an adventure in’.

Children as far away as north America and Singapore took part in the Saturday night camp-out.

By Sunday, Max had raised more than £500,000 for charity.

Max Woosey camping out in his tent in his garden in Braunton, Devon

Max Woosey camping out in his tent in his garden in Braunton, Devon

Max Woosey, from Braunton, began his challenge after a neighbour, who later died of cancer, gave him a tent to 'have an adventure in

Max Woosey, from Braunton, began his challenge after a neighbour, who later died of cancer, gave him a tent to ‘have an adventure in

Max Woosey on the anniversary of his one year camp out in his tent in his garden, with mum and dad, Rachael and Mark

Max Woosey on the anniversary of his one year camp out in his tent in his garden, with mum and dad, Rachael and Mark

The money will be donated to the North Devon Hospice which helped Max’s family care for their neighbour Rick Abbott – the man who provided the tent – before he died in February 2020.

Max’s mother Rachael Woosey said they had received ‘hundreds of messages’ and believed about a thousand people took part in the camp-out.

Camilla Parish, of Chawleigh in Devon, said her family of five, together with their dogs, had camped out for a third time in support of Max’s efforts.

‘After such a bizarre year, having little adventures like this has been great fun and it felt lovely [that] so many were joining and raising money for a great cause,’ she said.

Max's mother Rachael Woosey, pictured above, said they had received 'hundreds of messages' and believed about a thousand people took part in the camp-out

Max’s mother Rachael Woosey, pictured above, said they had received ‘hundreds of messages’ and believed about a thousand people took part in the camp-out

Max Woosey camping out in his tent in his garden in Braunton, Devon

Max Woosey camping out in his tent in his garden in Braunton, Devon

Many children braved wind and rain through the night while others enjoyed the comfort of their living rooms instead.

David Preston from South Staffordshire said his two children had popcorn in their tent, which had been put up in the front room.

‘The children decided to do it after seeing Max on the news one evening… they where hardly roughing it like Max. But nevertheless they absolutely loved it,’ he said.

Max began camping at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown and has admitted he has ‘cried himself to sleep’ on some nights ‘because all his gear was soaking wet’. He has gone through seven tents in total.

Max began camping at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown and has admitted he has 'cried himself to sleep' on some nights

Max began camping at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown and has admitted he has ‘cried himself to sleep’ on some nights

Max Woosey camping out in his tent in his garden in Braunton, Devon

Max Woosey camping out in his tent in his garden in Braunton, Devon

Bear Grylls showing his support for Max Woosey, who is celebrating a year camping out in his garden by urging children from across the world to join him to mark the occasion

Bear Grylls showing his support for Max Woosey, who is celebrating a year camping out in his garden by urging children from across the world to join him to mark the occasion

Companies and individuals have donated tents and equipment while celebrities, including Jonny Wilkinson and Bear Grylls, have sent good wishes.

Ms Woosey said Max and his family were thrilled both with the numbers who took part and the £516,000 raised for the hospice.

‘Last night I lay in bed in tears because it hit me.

‘It’s just so overwhelming,’ she said.

Ms Woosey has previously stated: ‘I have to stop and pinch myself to take in just how big this has become.

Johnny Wilkinson showing his support for Max Woosey, who is celebrating a year camping out in his garden by urging children from across the world to join him to mark the occasion

Johnny Wilkinson showing his support for Max Woosey, who is celebrating a year camping out in his garden by urging children from across the world to join him to mark the occasion

‘Max started out with the intention of raising a few pounds for our local hospice – in fact he’s raised £175,000 and counting, which is incredible in itself.

‘But to mark a year in his tent he decided he’d like to raise awareness of children’s mental health during lockdown.

‘He knows what it’s like to be isolated from friends, not to be able to play team sports and that sort of thing, so he’s doing this for all those children who have found lockdown – indeed the whole Covid crisis, so tough.

‘Children all over the world can join in.’

Max’s father Mark Woosey, a Royal Marine, added he ‘never thought’ what started out as a few nights sleeping in a tent would last a whole year.

He said: ‘Max has been on an amazing journey. It has brought out both his empathy for others and his steely determination.

‘I thought he meant just for a few days. I couldn’t believe it when he started camping out every night, for weeks on end.’

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