This remarkable Harrogate six-year-old with cerebral palsy has been inspired by Captain Tom Moore to walk 10 miles for NHS charities
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Emily Caffrey is in awe of the 99-year-old war veteran, who has become a household name around the world after raising a staggering £28 million for the NHS by walking more than 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, and has vowed to keep going for as long as generous people continue to donate to the NHS and key workers.
Emily is in awe of Capt Tom’s efforts, and is passionate about the transformative power of small acts of kindness in our communities, having experienced firsthand the amazing levels of care, compassion and thoughtfulness demonstrated by neighbours, family members, friends, and those who work at and attend her school, Hookstone Chase Primary.
She loves to be kind and help others, and no matter what life throws at her, Emily is never phased and always seizes every day with a smile - doing things for others is something that comes naturally to her, and she constantly inspires those around her.
Emily’s mum Hannah said: “Emily truly is an inspiration to us all. She attends mainstream school at Hookstone Chase and has her own little fan club with everyone wanting to be her friend, as she just seems to inspire all those around her. Nothing holds her back and she always does everything with a smile.
“She is always so determined and happy. Despite her troubles, she loves to help others, whether that be her little sister, Molly, her school friends, or even mummy and daddy. She thinks all the doctors and nurses are superheroes as they help people that are poorly, and Captain Tom was just such an inspiration.”
Emily saw Capt Tom walking around his garden on TV, and said, ‘I can do that mummy,’ as she had been doing small daily walks during the lockdown anyway. She was quick to make the military link as her father only left the RAF last year.
Emily’s dad Jon said: “The current crisis seems to be really bringing everyone together. Both Hannah and I are key workers - Hannah works at Henshaws college, and I deliver for Sainsbury’s, and the support and praise we receive has been amazing.
“The support from both the Harrogate area and far beyond since starting Emily’s challenge has been incredible, just through sharing on Facebook we have received support and donations from all over the country and internationally.
"It's times like these that seem to really bring everyone together. It’s often the smaller acts of kindness that can make the most impact. A perfect example of this is when people stop Emily and give her some money towards her challenge - no matter how small the amount, it is this that really spurs her on to keep walking when her legs are getting tired and her knees hurt. People like this really make a difference.”
Emily aims to complete her walking challenge on Saturday, her seventh birthday, and she has already raised more than £3,000 - well in excess of her original £500 target.
Mum Hannah said: “We are, and always have been, incredibly in awe of Emily. Right from the day she was born she has been such a strong and charismatic person. Her strength and determination in everything she does is far beyond a child of her age, and nothing holds her back.
“Despite her difficulties, she will always find a way to achieve her goals, many of which are far beyond the expectations of even the medical experts who look after her. Along with this, she has the most amazing personality - always smiling and happy, and she seems to have an aura around her that attracts people to her.”
The Caffrey family has been blown away by the community support, with sponsorship also pouring in for Emily from a neighbourhood WhatsApp group, with residents waving and shouting encouragement when they spot her setting off or returning from her walk.
To sponsor Emily, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emilywalks10miles
This feature is part of a year-long campaign called Salt of the Earth in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and sister JPI Media titles in Yorkshire, celebrating the power of small acts of kindness.
North Yorkshire County Council has launched a network of support for anyone who may need help during the coronavirus outbreak. People in need of help with shopping and other essentials who don’t have the support of family, friends or neighbours or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else should call North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week, from 8am to 5.30pm.
The aim of the phone line is to provide a single point of contact for those who are alone and isolated by the pandemic. For more information, visit the North Yorkshire County Council website: www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirusAs well as looking out for neighbours and family, county residents are reminded by North Yorkshire County Council of the importance of staying at home except for essential journeys and maintaining a safe distance of at least two metres if out, as well as washing hands regularly to help keep the disease at bay.
The leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Carl Les, has commended the extraordinary kindness and selfless actions of residents who are looking out for each other and truly going the extra mile to help our county’s most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.
The outbreak has prompted an enormous outpouring of community support on both an individual and group level, highlighting once again the innate kindness and thoughtfulness of North Yorkshire as a whole.
Mr Les said: “When we launched Salt of the Earth back in January, we could not have foreseen what the impact of this global pandemic would be on our communities. Despite facing their own hardships and heartache the people of North Yorkshire are once again proving how resilient and community spirited they are.
“I’ve been moved by the countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other and the army of volunteers forming groups in their towns and villages to make sure nobody is left without essential supplies. If there’s one positive to come from this crisis, it’s that incredible response. Never before did it feel more important to pay tribute to the people of North Yorkshire.”