Yorkshire boy with cerebral palsy inspired by Captain Tom walks 2.6km for charity

A disabled youngster from West Yorkshire has committed to walking 20 laps of his garden in a fundraising challenge.

Inspired by NHS fundraising hero Captain Tom Moore, Zach Eagling plans to walk 2.6km before his ninth birthday in June.

The eight-year-old from Liversedge was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged three and also suffers from epilepsy, with the youngster vowing to raise £3,000 for Epilepsy Society.

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His condition means he has difficulty with mobility and cognitive development, but he has vowed to complete the 20 metre laps in spite of this as part of nationwide fundraising efforts after the London Marathon was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving thousands of charities cash-strapped.

Zach Eagling, who is carrying out 20 laps of his garden to raise money for Epilepsy SocietyZach Eagling, who is carrying out 20 laps of his garden to raise money for Epilepsy Society
Zach Eagling, who is carrying out 20 laps of his garden to raise money for Epilepsy Society | ugc

The 2.6 challenge was coined in order to get people across Britain raising money for different causes from home as many charities face extreme hardship and even bankruptcy as a result of hundreds of events being cancelled due to the pandemic.

Zach became inspired to do the challenge after seeing Keighley-born centenarian Captain Tom Moore complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday last month.

The war hero has since raised, to date, £33m for NHS charities and has become the oldest person in Britain to achieve a number one single with his rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball.

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His mother Claire Keer, 38, said: “Zach became obsessed with hearing about Captain Tom and said he wanted to walk for charity.

Eight-year-old Zach Eagling, who is doing a 2.6km challenge to raise money for charity after being inspired by the efforts of hero Captain Tom MooreEight-year-old Zach Eagling, who is doing a 2.6km challenge to raise money for charity after being inspired by the efforts of hero Captain Tom Moore
Eight-year-old Zach Eagling, who is doing a 2.6km challenge to raise money for charity after being inspired by the efforts of hero Captain Tom Moore | other

“We came across the 2.6 Challenge and thought around £260 was a reasonable target considering the amount of people struggling financially just now. But within a few hours he had surpassed it and reached almost £500. Now the total is sitting at more than £3,000 which is absolutely incredible.

“We are all so proud of what he has achieved and are continuing to support him throughout the remainder of his challenge. He’s only recently started walking independently from his walking frame, so it is a huge challenge for him physically.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has supported Zach and donated money.”

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Since Zach's diagnosis aged three, his family have been aided by lawyers in order to access specialist therapies and support he requires.

Captain Tom MooreCaptain Tom Moore
Captain Tom Moore | pa

Rachelle Mahapatra, who has been helping the family from firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “It is incredible to hear about Zach’s determination and generosity by taking part in a charity fund-raiser which is clearly a challenge for him.

“The charity sector is undoubtedly struggling at this time and it is great to see Zach helping to make a difference.

“He is also a brilliant example of why you shouldn’t let disability stop you from doing what you want to achieve.”

Anyone wishing to support Zach's fundraising efforts can do so via his JustGiving page here.