Max Woosey has woken up in his tent in the depths of winter, teeth chattering, his sleeping bag and blankets coated with frost. The 11-year-old was almost tempted indoors one night when his tent blew down in a storm but he repitched and carried on.
This summer there have been some uncomfortably hot, sticky nights, especially after the family labradoodle, Digby, took to snuggling in with Max and licking his face at all hours.
But on Tuesday night Max, from Braunton in north Devon, will enjoy – and he insists it really is enjoyment – his 500th consecutive night camping out, an adventure that has raised more than £600,000 for charity.
“It feels amazing to reach 500 nights,” said Max. “It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long because so many cool things have happened since I started camping. I never ever thought that it would last this long, but I absolutely love it.”
The marathon began in early 2020 when Max’s mum and dad, Rachael and Mark Woosey, were helping to care for a neighbour, Rick Abbott, who had terminal cancer.
As lockdown restrictions dragged on, Max refused to come in from the cold and donations poured into his JustGiving page. He attracted national and international attention and was invited to camp next to the lion’s enclosure at London zoo and in the Downing Street garden.
As his 500th day approached, Max had raised £640,000 – more than half of what the hospice estimates it will have lost in donations due to the pandemic. And got through 10 tents.