Youngster’s fundraising efforts for cousin with Motor Neurone Disease top £600 in two weeks
PUBLISHED: 11:43 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 09 January 2020
When 10-year-old Nathan Gilbert heard about the 25th annual New Year’s Day dip taking place in his home village of Bacton, near North Walsham, he decided taking part would be a great way of raising cash for a cause very close to his heart.
The Happisburgh Primary School pupil wanted to support his cousin Kevin, who, since being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease two years ago at the age of just 31, has begun to lose the use of his arms and have difficulty walking.
After setting up an online fundraising page, the youngster's parents, Colin and Yvonne, approached the organisers of the dip - the landlords of the Poacher's Pocket pub, Gary and Caroline Stubbs.
"The day before Christmas Eve, Nathan asked us if he could take part in the dip and said, "Mummy, if I raise money, will it find a cure for cure Kevin?"" Mrs Gilbert explained.
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"They are very close and I had to tell him that it wouldn't help Kevin, but that it could help other people In the future."
Mr and Mrs Stubbs, who organised this year's dip in aid of a £25,000 appeal to repair the roof of Walcott village hall, have raised thousands for local and national charities and good causes since hosting the event for the first time in 1995, and last year raised £3,300 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
They agreed to allow Nathan to do a bucket collection for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Mr and Mrs Gilbert printed out sponsor forms, which he took to school.
Within a week, he had topped his target of £400 and, since racing into the sea on New Year's Day with friends, family and 50 other swimmers, the youngster has continued to fundraise, clocking up a total of more than £600 in honour of Kevin, who lives in South London with his partner Victoria and their three-year-old daughter.
Mrs Gilbert, who first took part in the dip three years ago in aid of stillbirth charity Sands to support a friend and neighbour whose baby died shortly after being born, said: "We are incredibly proud of Nathan, it was completely out of the blue, it was his own idea and I think for someone so young to do that for such a good cause is amazing."
To support Nathan, visit www.justgiving/fundraising/c-gilbert2 or to find out more about the Motor Neurone Disease Association, visit www.mndassociation.org