TINY fundraising hero Alfie McAnespie is taking on his biggest challenge yet this weekend – conquering Ben Nevis with Coronation Street star Antony Cotton.
The nine-year-old shot to fame as Help for Heroes’ youngest ever fundraiser when he walked a mile unaided at just 16 months.
Following on from his many past adventures – including climbing Snowdon last year – the ascent of Scotland’s biggest summit on Saturday will mark the biggest, and highest, challenge so far in Alfie’s young life.
Antony, best known for playing Sean Tully in Coronation Street, is an Ambassador for Help for Heroes. When one of his close friends was suffering with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was supported by the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick, Antony vowed that he would do all he could to help the Charity as a thank you for looking after his friend.
When little Alfie contacted the soap star on Twitter to ask if he would complete the Ben Nevis ascent with him, Anthony immediately signed up for the four-mile climb.
Alfie said: “I can’t wait to climb Ben Nevis. I’ve been training hard and I am so glad Antony has agreed to come with me. I can’t wait.
Antony said: “I can’t believe I am saying this but I am looking forward to it.”
The pair will set off to climb Ben Nevis from Fort William early on Saturday morning. They appeared on Lorraine Kelly’s breakfast ITV show on Friday to tell the Scottish TV star – also a Help for Heroes Ambassador - about their upcoming expedition.
An emotional Alfie, who is from Colchester, was also treated to a surprise video message from his dad Lee, who is serving abroad with the Parachute Regiment. Alfie was inspired by Scottish war hero Stu Pearson from East Kilbride – who lost his leg in Afghanistan and was immortalised in the film Kajaki – to climb Mount Snowdon last year after the pair met at an event at Westminster. Alfie aimed to raise enough money to go towards the purchase of a specialised wheelchair for a beneficiary of the Charity.
Help for Heroes offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country. This support is provided through grants direct to our Heroes and their families, grants to other charities and through four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres across the UK. A recent study launched in January 2016 by Help for Heroes and King’s College London found of the 750,000 men and women who served as Regulars between 1991 and 2014, at least 66,000 need long term support.