A heroic fundraiser has been honoured with a Pride of Britain Award after raising more than £1.5 million for Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
Six-year-old Tony Hudgell was awarded the Good Morning Britain Young Fundraiser prize during the Pride of Britain Awards on Sunday on ITV1.
Tony was given the prize by his heroes Ant and Dec in a pre-recorded segment filmed at London toy store Hamleys.
After receiving his first pair of prosthetic legs earlier this year, Tony, with the help of his mum Paula and dad Mark, walked 10 kilometres throughout the month of June, setting a target of £500. But he raised a staggering £1.5 million.
Messages of support for Tony’s fundraising came from around the globe as well as Prince William and Evelina London patron HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who wrote to him and posted messages of congratulations on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Tony was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing fellow fundraiser Captain Tom Moore, who also picked up a Pride of Britain Award, on the television.
During his challenge, Tony received a video message of support from Captain Tom himself.
Plans are currently being made for the money to go towards The Tony Hudgell therapy area – a new specialist therapy space for children with complex needs like Tony.
The new therapy area will be inside a new hospital building due to open in 2026, next to the existing hospital.
Tony and his family, as well as other children and families cared for by Evelina London, will be involved in the design of the area to ensure it works really well for children and young people now and into the future.
There are also plans to fund innovative new equipment to help children and young people, like Tony, who are having specialist surgical treatment and therapy for their bone and muscle conditions.
Some of the funds may also help improve rehabilitation services for children and young people closer to home. Tony was cared for by a huge team of doctors, nurses, therapists, orthotists, prosthetists and physiotherapists.
Parents Paula and Mark Hudgell, who adopted Tony when he was a baby, couldn’t be more proud of what their son has achieved.
Paula, 52, said: “When we were told Tony had won a Pride of Britain award it was so overwhelming and incredible. We all got quite emotional. It’s such an amazing achievement.
“We started the fundraiser to get Tony walking and to raise a bit of money for the hospital that means so much for us. Now a Pride of Britain award and £1.5 million pounds later we are completely lost for words.
“Tony knows it’s a wonderful achievement and he absolutely loves the trophy. To be given the award by his idols Ant and Dec really was the icing on the cake for him.
“It’s just wonderful to know that the impact of Tony’s determination will be felt by other families like ours for years to come. It is so wonderful that a little boy who fought so hard to survive with the help of the doctors and nurses that did so much for him can give something so meaningful back.”
Mr Michail Kokkinakis, Tony’s orthopaedic surgeon at Evelina London, said: “Words can’t express how proud I am of Tony. He is proof that even those with big setbacks in life can go to achieve incredible things.
“We are all so thankful that all of the money raised will go towards helping so many more children and families in the future. I know that the innovative new equipment we’re hoping to acquire will make such a huge difference to my patients.
“Tony has received support from across Evelina London and a huge team of healthcare professionals have been involved in his care. The rehabilitation team have been particularly important and have supported him to walk with his prosthetics.
“Every member of Tony’s care team has known for a long time that he is a very special and very brave and determined person, so a Pride of Britain Award is an extremely apt and well deserved honour.”
You can still donate to Tony’s fundraising page to help more children just like him here.
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