An eight-year-old boy plans to spend 100 nights sleeping in a bivvy bag in his back garden to raise funds for the Captain Tom Foundation.
Archie Tunstill, who lives in a village near Newmarket in Suffolk, said he was inspired by 11-year-old Max Woosey, who raised more than £500,000 for charity by sleeping in a tent in his garden in Devon for a year.
Max had lost a family friend to cancer, and before he died the friend had given him a tent and told him to have an adventure.
On the final night of Max’s challenge, March 27, children around the country were encouraged to sleep in a tent in their garden to raise money for charity as part of a Big Camp Out.
Archie joined in with this and has been sleeping in a bivvy bag in his garden every night since then.
His mother Poppy Tunstill, 39, said Archie has always enjoyed camping and the outdoors.
“He started that night and carried on just for fun, then a week into the sleep-out he was thinking, ‘maybe I could make it into an adventure or a challenge’ then we heard about the Captain Tom 100,”
“He decided to turn a few nights into 100 nights.”
People are being encouraged to take on a charity challenge themed around the number 100 for the Captain Tom 100, in honour of the Second World War veteran who raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
Mrs Tunstill, who works as a vet, said Archie has been sleeping in an old Army-issue bivvy bag with a waterproof outer lining, and he has his sleeping bag within the bivvy bag.
He is afforded some shelter by a basha – like a tarpaulin – which they have attached to a tree.
Archie has braved some bitter nights, with rain, snow and temperatures falling to minus 4C, and he is determined to finish his challenge.
“We’ve been saying ‘you don’t have to carry on if you don’t want to’ but he’s started so he’ll finish,” said Mrs Tunstill.
“He came in one morning with ice on his hat, snow on his hat.”
But Archie said his “worst nights have been the warmer nights”, adding: “I got too hot and had to go inside and take layers off.”
Mrs Tunstill said her 41-year-old husband Mark, who is also a vet, and Archie’s six-year-old brother Ollie have kept him company on some of the nights.
“We’re just so proud of how resilient he is and how tough he’s being about it and I think it will definitely make him a stronger character,” she said.
Archie said that he is spurred on by his fundraising and the thought of inspiring others.
He added: “It’s really fun because there’s no one to wake me up.”
His 100th night sleeping in his bivvy bag will be on July 4.
To sponsor him, see: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PoppyTunstill