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Former Prime Minister David Cameron backs Tony Hudgell whose charity walk has raised £1m for Evelina London Children's Hospital

David Cameron says he is "right behind" heroic Tony Hudgell's charity exploits after the youngster smashed through the £1million mark.

In a recorded message to the five-year-old fundraiser from Kings Hill, the former Prime Minister sent his family's congratulations to the double-amputee who has captured the nation's hearts.

Brave Tony Hudgell has received a message of encouragement from former Prime Minister David Cameron
Brave Tony Hudgell has received a message of encouragement from former Prime Minister David Cameron

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore's walk earlier in the lockdown, the Discovery School pupil aims to walk 10km in June to raise cash for the Evelina London Children's Hospital - which saved his life as a baby and also gave care to the former Conservative leader's son Ivan.

Mr Cameron said: "Tony, let me congratulate you on your epic walk. It is a huge achievement, and what a great cause.

"My family and I are huge fans of the Evelina Children's Hospital. Our dear son Ivan spent much time there. We loved the staff and also the 'can-do' attitude of the medical team.

"So many people - patients, families, staff - will receive a huge boost from all the money that you've raised. Your story is an inspiration to us all, so thank you, we are right behind you."

Mr Cameron's six-year-old son Ivan died in 2009. He had both severe epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and was regularly cared for by the NHS during his short life.

On Monday Tony's name was up in lights above Piccadilly Circus in London as the hospital thanked him for his fantastic achievements.

Proud mum Paula Hudgell said: "We just can't thank everybody enough for all the support, love and messages. It's just been so wonderful for Tony, his walking has improved so much."

So far his Just Giving page has raised more than £900,000, with gift aid and offline donations taking the total raised past the £1million mark.

Tragically Tony - who gets about with the aid of crutches and prosthetics - was left without legs after he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his biological parents.

Horrific abuse by Jody Simpson and Antony Smith resulted in him having to have both legs amputated and left him fighting for his life when just 41 days old.

The Maidstone couple were both eventually jailed for 10 years in 2018 and have had subsequent attempts to slash their sentences rejected by the courts.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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