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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Will and Kate express pride at Tony Hudgell's £1m fundraising for Evelina London Children's Hospital

Heroic Tony Hudgell's charity exploits have been given the royal seal of approval by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In a message posted to the Kensington Palace Instagram account, William and Kate expressed their pride at the "incredible courage and determination" of the Kings Hill five-year-old, who has become a national sensation after raising more than £1million for Evelina London Children's Hospital.

The Duchess of Cambridge is a patron of the hospital, where Tony's life was saved as a baby after he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his biological parents.

The brave little fundraiser was left a double-amputee, and today he is able to get about with the aid of crutches and prosthetic legs.

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore's charity walk for the NHS earlier in the lockdown, the Discovery School pupil aims to walk 10km in June to raise cash for the hospital - having initially set out to reach a slightly more modest target of £500.

Now he has captured the hearts of the nation with his daily walks near his home.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron sent the inspirational youngster a video message to say he is "right behind" him as he closes in on his walking target.

Tony Hudgell on an electronic billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus. Picture: David Tett
Tony Hudgell on an electronic billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus. Picture: David Tett

His adopted mum Paula Hudgell says taking on the challenge has been a huge boost for Tony's confidence and really helped strengthen his walking on his crutches and artificial limbs.

She 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 £915,000, with gift aid and offline donations taking the total raised past the £1million mark.

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

The abuse Tony suffered at the hands of birth parents 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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