Little walkers step out to help poorly children

LITTLE STARS: Youngsters from Dean Park Day Nursery walked 100 laps of their field to raise more than £1,500 for Round Table Children’s Wish, encouraged by the charity’s mascot Dandi Lion

Captain Tom Moore’s charity walking efforts have inspired the youngsters of Dean Park Day Nursery to raise more than £1,500 for poorly children.

The charity challenge was organised by Bex Ballington, who has taught at the Bournemouth nursery since it opened in 2016.

Bex said: “We’ve got a magnificent field to walk round – it’s the former Hampshire Cricket Ground – and the children walked their hundred laps over four days.

“We have babies to pre-schoolers in three groups – Hedgehogs, Foxes and Rabbits – and the babies were pushed round so everyone did their bit.

“It’s great to think of our children helping others. We talked about why they were doing it, to help children who are really poorly, and we also had conversations about Captain Tom.

“It was a lovely learning experience for the children and we were absolutely thrilled that we managed to raise £1546 to present to Round Table Children’s Wish.”

LITTLE STARS: Bex Ballington and youngsters from Dean Park Day Nursery hand over a cheque for Round Table Children’s Wish. Also pictured are Rich Cooper, who wore the charity’s Dandi Lion costume for the walk, and RTCW fundraising officer Clare Kyrillou, right

For Bex herself it was the culmination of a long-held ambition to help the Bournemouth-based charity which is close to her heart. She had planned to run the London Marathon for Round Table Children’s Wish in 2013 before injury forced her to pull out.

Bex and the children were joined in their efforts by Rich Cooper, whose daughter attends the nursery and who is running in this year’s London Marathon on behalf of the charity.

His dedication to the cause involved wearing the costume of the charity’s mascot, Dandi Lion, on two of the 100 laps challenge days.

RTCW fundraising officer Clare Kyrillou said: “This was an amazing effort and we’re absolutely thrilled to receive the £1546 raised by all at Dean Park Day Nursery – what an incredible total.

“We rely on donations like this – and those from our marathon runners like Rich – to make our children’s wishes come true. We couldn’t do it without these wonderful fundraisers and we’re very grateful.”

Captain Sir Tom Moore raised more than £30 million for NHS charities in the run-up to his 100th birthday last year after his efforts in walking laps of his garden captured the nation’s imagination. He died in February.

Over the last 30 years Round Table Children’s Wish has helped make wishes come true for many youngsters and their families all over the country.

You can learn more about the work of Round Table Children’s Wish at www.rtcw.org.