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Schoolboy Tony Hudgell receives message from Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta, and Captain Tom Moore's family for his 10km fundraising challenge

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A schoolboy has raised nearly £400,000 by setting himself a walking challenge despite having both his legs amputated as a baby.

Tony Hudgell from Kings Hill was inspired by the efforts of Captain Tom Moore and decided to challenge himself to walk 10k throughout June.

Tony Hudgell from Kings Hill has set himself a 10k challenge.
Tony Hudgell from Kings Hill has set himself a 10k challenge.

Just days into the challenge, the Discovery School pupil soared past his target of £500 reaching a total of £391,674.

Tony wants to donate the money to the Evelina London Children's Hospital.

Staff at the hospital helped to save the five-year-old's life after he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his biological parents.

Young Tony, who started primary school in September, captured the nation's hearts as devastating details emerged of the suffering he endured.

Tony, who can get about thanks to crutches and prosthetics, is aiming to walk between 300m and 500m each day this month to reach his target.

KMTV's Kristina Curtis reports.

Proud adoptive mother Paula Hudgell, 52, said she has been left speechless by the support.

She said: "The hospital is our second home and a massive part of our lives. We are so proud of him and that we're able to give something back to the hospital that saved his life."

Tony still attends regular appointments at the hospital and has been making great progress with his walking by taking to the pavement each day from his home on Victoria Drive.

Mrs Hudgell added: "Before when we tried to get him to walk he's always been a bit reluctant to do it but now, because he knows he has raised a huge amount of money, he's actually excited for his walk each day.

"He's been really happy about doing it because there have been lots of people coming and cheering him on.

"His walking has improved so much in just one week, it's incredible to see."

The youngster's incredible fundraising efforts have also earned him an invite to visit Chelsea's training ground in Cobham.

Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta sent a heart-warming message to BBC Breakfast when Tony appeared this morning alongside his adoptive parents Paula and Mark.

The Chelsea player said: "Hi Tony, it's Azpi here. Everyone at Chelsea is very proud of you and what you are doing.

"You are an inspiration to us all. When things return to normality, I would like you to come to the training ground to meet all the players. Take care, I hope to see you very soon."

It is not the first time his footballing heroes have surprised the inspirational lad.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard sent him a video message during a segment on ITV's This Morning, broadcast via a live link-up, earlier in the coronavirus outbreak.

Tony used to walk with a frame similar to the one used by Captain Tom Moore before progressing on to crutches.

Mrs Hudgell added: "Tony had been watching Captain Tom and when he saw this he said 'oh I can do that too'.

"Then as we progressed towards crutches we thought maybe we should set him a challenge too and that's where the idea came from."

Frank Lampard talks to Paula, Tony and Mark Hudgell via a video link, broadcast on This Morning Picture: ITV
Frank Lampard talks to Paula, Tony and Mark Hudgell via a video link, broadcast on This Morning Picture: ITV

To congratulate his efforts, this weekend, Tony received a special message for Captain Tom's family.

In the message, the family said: "Hello Tony, on behalf of Captain Tom and the entire family, we wish you all the best on your 10k walk. We are so proud of you."

Mrs Hudgell added: "It was a lovely little video and we are honoured they took the time out to send it."

To donate to Tony's fundraiser, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling

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