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Newbury schoolboy walks 500 miles for Willows Edge Care Home ‘to party’

Toby Thorp has raised £750 for the care home

Jonathan Ashby

Jonathan Ashby


01635 886637

Newbury schoolboy walks 500 miles for Willows Edge Care Home ‘to party’

A SELFLESS schoolboy has been awarded a medal after raising hundreds of pounds for a Newbury care home.

In April, nine-year-old Toby Thorp started going on walks around West Berkshire with his mother Vicky and younger brother Miles to cope with his anxiety and the lack of a routine during the coronavirus lockdown.

Soon after, realising how hard it would be for Willows Edge Care Home residents who were shielding and unable to see their loved ones, he set himself the challenge of walking 500 miles to raise money for the care home.

Four months and many walks later, Toby completed his epic challenge with a walk in Wales, and raised £750 for the care home in the process – smashing his initial £100 target.

Vicky Thorp, who is a care officer at the home, said: “He’s so proud – he wants to take everything into school and do show and tell and talk about what he’s done and where he’s been.

“He wanted to end it by walking near waterfalls and I thought there are no waterfalls in Newbury.

“But my mum lives in Wales near Brecon Beacons and she told us about a really lovely walk there.

“He finished that walk, we got in the car and that Proclaimers 500 Miles song came on the radio – I couldn’t believe it.”

Last Thursday, Toby – who is in Year 5 at Winchcombe School – celebrated the completion of his task by visiting the care home, where he was presented with a medal inscribed with ‘The 2020 Great British 500 Mile Challenge’.

He also cut a celebratory cake with residential unit manager Tracy McGuire-Brown and received a few presents.

Mrs Thorp said: “We went to the Willows the other day and it was a bit different than what was planned because of the weather, but he had a walk on the outside.

“He got a great reception – initially he was really nervous because he couldn’t go in and speak to anyone because it’s a dementia home and they need a lot of explanation as to what’s going on, but the staff were great.

“The residents were all lined up by the window in reception, so when we came along they were all waving and had flags and posters.

“It was really cute and before I knew it he was marching up and down, waving away and smiling.

“It was quite sweet and the nerves went away very quickly.

“He’s over the moon with the money he raised – the staff asked him what he wanted them to spend it on, and he said a big party.

“They said they’d do that and invite him, and he said ‘you have to invite me’.”

You can still donate to Toby’s cause by visiting

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