Nine-year-old Captain Tobias raises £100k with his ‘ginormous challenge’
A nine-year-old boy’s “ginormous challenge” to use his walker to complete a marathon through the lockdown has hit the £100,000 mark.
On Sunday, Tobias Weller, who has cerebral palsy, completed the final 750 metres of his 70-day challenge to walk the full marathon distance on his Sheffield street to the cheers of dozens of his friends and neighbours.
The youngster – who has been dubbed Captain Tobias by his supporters – originally aimed to raise £500 after being inspired by Captain Tom Moore to complete what he called his “ginormous challenge”.
At the end of the weekend, he had raised around £46,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and his special school in the city, but the money has continued to pour in as he continued his daily walk and appeared in media across the world.
On Thursday night, his fundraising page clicked past the £100,000 mark with donations from more than 4,700 people.
David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “Captain Tobias’ remarkable determination and effort in completing his lockdown marathon has touched the hearts and inspired people not only in Sheffield, but across the country and around the world.
“We’re very proud of him and all the staff at Sheffield Children’s, whose excellent care helps children like Tobias to pursue their dreams every day.
“The £100,000 raised for Paces School and the hospital is a phenomenal achievement and we’re so thankful to everyone who has supported the effort so far.
“It will be a huge boost to our efforts to change the lives of generations of young patients to come.”
Julie Booth, head of fundraising for Paces Sheffield, said: “We are so incredibly proud of Captain Tobias.
“His strength and determination to complete a marathon is an inspiration to us all. Paces share of the funds will be used towards our recently launched capital appeal to raise £3.5 million to build a new school and centre which will allow is to support up to three times as many children and adults.
“We are delighted that Tobias has chosen to support our charity with this and we simply can’t thank him enough.”
Police closed off the Sheffield road on Sunday as neighbours hung bunting and balloons for the final 750m of his marathon fundraising effort.
Tobias said he felt “magnificent” that he had finished the walk and “chuffed to bits” that he had raised so much money.
Tobias’s mother, Ruth Garbutt, said she was “bursting with pride” and that they were going to continue walking with the aim of reaching 50km.
Olympic heptathlon champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, professional footballer Esme Morgan and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker sent Tobias video messages wishing him luck.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ruth-garbutt-3