A thoughtful boy from Sutton Coldfield has gone the extra distance after setting himself a step challenge and raising over £1,300 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Seven-year-old George Cooper had been stuck in the house with COVID-19 and while he hadn’t been too poorly, boredom had set in, so he began to think about all the things he could do when he was allowed out again.

George decided he’d like to take on a challenge to raise money for charity, to get him out of the house while helping others, and he knew exactly which charity he was going to choose. George’s mum, Jenny, is a nurse at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and after seeing her continue to work as hard as ever during the pandemic, George set upon a step and distance challenge to do more for the sick kids in her care.

With the help of his mum, George set himself some realistic goals – to cover a five-mile distance on his bike or walking and an additional 20,000 more steps than he usually would walk - in the five weeks leading up to his seventh birthday. George set himself the target of raising £50 for the hospital’s play department, which helps to keep the young patients entertained while in hospital, and distracted during their treatment.

Most days George went out to play on his bike and kept active, even volunteering himself to walk his grandparents’ puppy to increase his daily steps and clock up the miles. Meanwhile, Jenny had set up a Just Giving page to collect sponsorship and donations, and shared regular updates, keeping track of George’s step count and total miles.

George was determined to smash his fundraising target, and even got his classmates involved. He convinced his teachers to organise a ‘scary hair day’ where pupils donated £2.00 each to turn up with garish hairstyles. In less than a month George had already reached his goals. He clocked up a whopping 8.2 miles on his bike and through walking plus over 27, 464 steps, as well as his sponsorship skyrocketing.

Jenny said: “George has always understood I work with poorly children but I think during the pandemic he realised just how important the hospital is, and the importance of fundraising. The work of the hospital’s play team really resonated with him too, especially after being stuck in the house with COVID-19 himself.

“We’re so proud of George for smashing his challenge goals. Seeing his fundraising total shoot past his target was just incredible and he enjoyed it so much he’s even thinking about taking on another walking challenge for the charity.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s so lovely George can see what a hero his mum is, and the fact he’s following in her footsteps supporting our brave patients, but with fundraising instead, is so heart-warming.

“George raised an awesome amount for our play department through his challenge, and those funds will go on to help support the 90,000 sick kids we treat every year.”