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PM recognises disabled teen’s amazing fundraiser

Oliver Voysey hanging on a rope
Oliver Voysey hanging on a rope Image credit: news.sky.com

Boris Johnson has applauded a disabled teenager who has saved his local outdoor activity centre from closure by raising thousands of pounds.

Oliver Voysey was left with vision loss, autism, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and epilepsy when he suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury when he was just two days old.

The 13-year-old enjoys visits to the Calvert Lakes outdoor centre, run by the Lake District Calvert Trust, but its future was uncertain after the attraction lost a million pounds in revenue through lockdown.

Oliver, determined to see the centre stay open, set himself the challenge to complete a series of themed tasks such as walking on a treadmill for 13 minutes and standing independently for 13 seconds, which raised £250,000 to help Calvert Lakes reopen.

It goes without saying his family and friends were very impressed, but there was another person who recognised Oliver’s achievements, Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Boris wrote to Olver saying: "I was lost in awe hearing about your phenomenal fundraising appeal to help the activity centre you love.

"Through your campaign, you are helping so many other disabled people enjoy an exciting host of activities such as canoeing, abseiling and horse riding at the Lake District Calvert Trust."

Impressed by the letter from Number 10, Oliver’s mum, Sarah, told Sky News for her son to receive "such a personalised letter was quite something".

"It's nice for him to have that public recognition," she said. "It came at such a nice time as he has really been struggling with anxiety during lockdown, which has been quite debilitating."

Sarah said the centre is very close to the family’s heart as it provided experiences "we didn't think were possible".

"When we returned to the centre for the first time since lockdown, it was just like coming home.

"Oliver's struggles and anxiety just melted away. He had been struggling to talk to people, but soon was zipping up and down the zip wire and going on the high ropes course.

"His disability is reduced when we are there."

Fundraising manager at the Lake District Calvert Trust, Jennifer Scott, said: "Please don't ever underestimate the difference you can make to the many thousands of children and adults with disabilities that benefit from a visit to the Lake District Calvert Trust.

"Any legacy, large or small, can make a lasting difference to their lives."

Oliver Voysey is the 1,693rd person to receive the prime minister's daily Points of Light award, first launched in April 2014.