'I hope Tobi's proud of me': Shropshire boy, 8, raises £8,000 in 12 charity challenges in memory of friend
An eight-year-old who put himself through 12 charity challenges in memory of a dear friend who died has raised more than £8,000 and said: "I hope Tobi's proud of me."
Nate Pakeman of Loggerheads, near Market Drayton, organised one challenge a month throughout 2019 including climbing Mount Snowdon, a 24-hour sponsored silence and walking on fire.
He did it to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity. His close friend Tobi Weir was cared for at the hospital when he suffered from eosinophilia, a condition affecting his blood cells.
The two had known each other since Nate was a week old.
He devised a different challenge for each of the months Tobi spent in hospital, all to raise money for the charity.
Nate was partway through his first challenge, walking 100 miles, in January when Tobi died of complications from the illness.
Nate carried on with his challenges and last Saturday completed the final one, an obstacle course party put on by Ultim8 Warrior.
"There were about 20 kids in total," said Lauren Pakeman, Nate's mother.
"Every single one of them had massive smiles the whole time.
"They got medals and certificates at the end of it, they all knew they had achieved something."
Tobi's younger brother Jack was one of the children who took part and the Weir family have been behind Nate's challenges all the way, said Miss Pakeman.
Nate has been reflecting on the challenges which have raised more than £8,000.
His online fundraiser will stay active into the new year. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nates12in12 to donate.
He said: "I feel amazing, I feel really good.
"I wanted to raise more because the Birmingham Children's Hospital needs a lot of money.
"There were two [challenges] I really found hard: the biking one because my legs never felt the same and the silence.
"I hope Tobi is proud of me."
Miss Pakeman said: "He's on a comedown because it's the final challenge.
"It's a lot more than the £1,000 target he set. By the summer he had raised £5,000.
"It's been a very tough year. Obviously the reason behind the challenges was at the start of the year and that's been hard.
"That's had a huge effect on all of us and on Nate as well. The challenges have kept him going and motivated.
"Tobi's parents have supported Nate, they have donated to every challenge but they have turned up to most of the challenges too. They have been there the whole time.
"A huge thank you to everyone who has supported Nate over the year. It makes a huge difference to the hospital.
"It means a great deal to us to know we've been able to do it in Tobi's name."