Toddler puts his best feet forward for

Date: Friday 1st May 2020
Henry Mackley
Henry Mackley

charity — just days after learning to walk

A SHAP toddler put his best foot forward this week to raise money for charity in a challenge inspired by Captain Tom Moore.

Captain Tom, a former British Army officer, has captured the hearts of the nation with his efforts to raise money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the coronavirus pandemic.

His amazing fundraising has gained national attention, including that of the Mackley family who live in Shap.

Having only started walking during lockdown, 15-month old Henry Mackley (known as Hennie) this week took on a fundraising task to walk 1,500m in aid of the Isabel Baker Foundation.

Hennie is the son of Paul Mackley and his wife Bethany, who is a healthcare assistant, and he has three stepbrothers, Tom, aged seven; Jack, aged 11; and 13-year-old Joseph.

Paul explained that the family was keen to get involved in fundraising for charities which have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Having also donated to the NHS, they were keen to find a smaller charity which may not receive as much widespread support as some of the more well-known causes.

With this in mind they came across the Isabel Baker Foundation which works to support families of children with cancer and was set up in memory of Isabel who died from leukaemia eight days after her first birthday.

Paul said with Isabel passing away at an age close to his son, the charity struck a chord with him.

“Hennie is a very healthy little boy and I felt I’ve been blessed with something quite beautiful here and wanted to give something back.

“Captain Tom Moore took the country by storm and inspired us with his walk and we thoughTtt ‘let’s get Henry doing this’, it’s just been fantastic.”

Starting on Monday, and finishing yesterday, Hennie has completed 1,500m — 10 metres for each month he has been alive and in a nod to Captain Tom’s 100 laps for his 100th birthday.

“Hennie only just started walking during lockdown so we are sharing that memory, that bit of Hennie’s life, with the charity. It’s great, he just toddles off,” Paul said.

The family have been doing laps of selected routes in Shap early each morning in order to avoid passing many other walkers as part of their efforts to follow social distancing and lockdown government guidelines.

Having set a target of raising just £50, Hennie’s efforts have been shared on the Just Giving website (search ‘Hennies big steps’) and by day two had already raised £175.

Paul is in regular contact with organisers from the Isabel Baker Foundation throughout the challenge and said the charity was “ecstatic” about what Hennie was doing, with Isabel’s mum also making a donation.

“A lot of people are donating and it’s just been really lovely, it warms the heart,” Paul added.