Thirteen-year-old Joshua Hoyle gets up at 6.30am and walks five miles to and from school with a bag laden with textbooks – even though he’s being home-schooled.
The big-hearted schoolboy wanted to do something to help others during lockdown so he resolved to raise sponsorship for disadvantaged children who have been struggling to get an education during COVID-19.
Each day he adds an extra book to his bag and takes the long hilly walk from his home in Shepley Holmfirth to Shelley College. By the last day of term he’ll be weighed down with 31 books!
The gesture has captured the public imagination and in less than a fortnight he has raised more than £7,000. In addition, anonymous benefactors have offered to double everything raised in June, meaning he will raise at least £14,000.
The money will go to northern education charity SHINE, which helps raise the attainment of less advantaged children.
Some well-known names have backed Joshua’s challenge.
Sarah Brown, the campaigner and wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, sponsored Josh and said:
“I am a huge fan of SHINE for their work in education and now I am a fan of yours!”
TV presenter June Sarpong tweeted ‘How lovely!’ and Yorkshire-born professional cricketer Tymal Mills tweeted: ‘Great work from this young man doing something productive and giving back during the lockdown.’
“Lockdown has been tough for me because I really enjoy school and have missed going during this extraordinary time. But I am so much luckier compared to other children who don’t even get an education.
“So, from this week until the end of the school year, which finishes on July the 17th, I will be walking to school and back every day.
“I wanted to feel like I was at least going there and back so I just arrive near the front, take a picture and walk back and do the work from home online
“I am doing this for SHINE, which is a charity organised to help disadvantaged kids in the North who do not get the sort of education I and others do.
“I will also be adding a schoolbook to my bag each day, which will, in the end, add up to 32 books.
“This is to raise awareness and show how lucky we are compared to many others.
“Hopefully in the future, we will have a much more diverse and stable society with loads of opportunities for everyone.
“I would be very grateful if you could donate anything, no matter how small the amount, to go to the great charity SHINE.”
Depending on the route he takes, Joshua’s walk is between 4.2 and 5.6 miles and takes between 1hr, 10mins and 1hr, 34mins.
Fiona Spellman, CEO of SHINE, said:
“It made my day when I heard what Joshua is doing – he is an incredibly inspirational young man and everyone at SHINE is so grateful to him for his efforts. He has already raised an amazing amount of money which will make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children in the North. We wish him the very best of luck with his challenge.”
You can sponsor Joshua at his JustGiving page.