The boy lived in a tent for 3 years: he raised $ 860 for the hospice and got into the Guinness Book of Records

When Max Woosie first pitched a tent in the garden of his home in Devon, UK, he was 10 years old and had just lost a friend. Since then, he has not spent the night indoors for three years and set a record Guinness Books.

Photo: IStock

Max's fundraising activities began in March 2020. Through a years-long campaign, he became known as "The Boy in the Tent" and raised over $860 for North Devon Hospice, a local institution that cared for his late friend.

Thanks to the philanthropic efforts he has shown over the past three years, Max has officially broken the record for the amount of money raised by camping (individually).

In 2020, Max's neighbor Rick Abbott was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The Woosy family supported Rick during the last months of his life, thus learning about the care provided to him by the North Devon Hospice. Unfortunately, Rick's condition continued to deteriorate, and despite collective efforts to improve his failing health, he passed away in February 2020.

“Before my neighbor died of cancer, he gave me his favorite tent as a token of our friendship and told me to 'go on an adventure',” Max said.

“North Devon Hospice took such good care of him that I wanted to thank them,” says Max.

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North Devon Hospice joined the action, appreciating the young man's commitment and stunning fundraising results at the dawn of his third year in the tent.

“The Woosi family saw the level of care and support we were able to give Rick, helping him stay at home where he wanted to be and live his last days in comfort and without pain. It sowed the seeds of Max's amazing adventure,” Stephen Roberts, chief executive of North Devon Hospice, told us. “When he was in his garden in a tent for just a few weeks, a 10-year-old boy, he, had already done something amazing for his local hospice.”

However, in retrospect, they could not have imagined how successful Max's campaign had been in such a short period of time and what a huge benefit it would bring to his local community.

By gaining popularity on social platforms and quickly gaining nationwide support, he proved that a bold act can make all the difference.
This amount allowed the hospice to provide 15 hospice nurses for the whole year. Over the course of a year, these trained staff will be able to provide home-based support to around 500 patients, helping them cope with the consequences of a disease such as cancer.

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Max's efforts have raised life-saving funds at a time like the pandemic, which has created unprecedented hardship for patients and charities alike.

As emphasized by Roberts, he also emphasized the importance of patient care in hospices.

“It's often only when people see our care firsthand that they really understand how much it means,” he says.

“When the lockdown started, I asked my parents if I could camp in Rick’s tent, but my parents wouldn’t let me,” Max explains, looking back at the start of his life-changing journey.

“On March 28, 2020, they finally said yes. Three years later, I was still in the tent,” the boy says.

From that very first trip, Max spent every night in his tent.

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When Max grew from a boy to a young man, and his action became a media sensation, he had the opportunity to go on many unique adventures.

For example, he had the opportunity to pitch his tent at the London Zoo (which is officially the first petting zoo in the world) and become a zookeeper for one night as part of the "Boycott Your Bed" campaign. Not long after, Max also camped in the garden at the famous No. 10 Downing Street for the 2021 Action for Kids charity event.

On this occasion, he had a cup of tea with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They were joined by Johnson's dog, Deelin.

But most of all, however, Max's favorite experience was camping at the Twickenham Rugby Grounds.

“It was incredible,” he recalls.

Over the years, Max has also had the opportunity to improve his camping skills.

A few things have changed and improved, especially in terms of comfort, technical equipment and set-up, but the enthusiasm remains the same as on the first night.

“Now I use a folding patio tent in the winter so I don't have to move it every few days. It’s not as convenient, but it saves you from getting wet and dirty and does not spoil the lawn,” explains Max.

When he looks back and remembers the best and worst of his camping experience, Max says he wouldn't change a thing over the past three years. However, as it's not hard to imagine, the past years have not been trouble-free for Max, from collapsed tents, cold during storms and snowy nights, to COVID during heat waves.

But difficulties are part of the game, and he met each one with a positive attitude and determination.

“Once my tent collapsed in the wind and rain around 10 pm. We had to reinstall it,” he says.
Despite the inevitable ups and downs, numerous encounters with foxes and bugs, cold winters and suffocating summers, Max fell in love with his one-of-a-kind adventure from day one.

“I had the best three years of my life. I met wonderful people and had a brilliant experience. I don't think I would change anything,” he said. I was just about to go on an adventure and raise $100. It's crazy that this gets so much attention, but I hope it makes people see that kids are capable of so much more than people think."

Thanks to the support of his family and friends—what he calls a "family effort"—Max successfully raised a record-breaking amount for the hospice. His achievements and dedication were officially recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

“It was brilliant. My Uncle James always gives me a Guinness World Record for Christmas. It's every kid's dream!" Max says.
On March 29, another big change will take place in Max's life - his last night in a tent.

At the end of this journey, it's easy to imagine how incredibly proud his late friend Max would have been, the young man he grew up to be and the adventure he had through his tent.

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As The Boy in the Tent prepares to enjoy a good night's sleep in a traditional bed for the first time in three years, North Devon Hospice and Max's family celebrate his world record.

“The boy who pitched his tent for the first time in March 2020 has grown into a very impressive young man who has helped change the lives of so many people,” said Stephen Roberts.

In the near future, Max plans to sleep well and focus on rugby.

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