A hill walker fundraising on behalf of the baby son he lost to a rare genetic condition was shocked when a complete stranger he met on a mountain donated £100.Andy Rooke's son Charlie was only 17 months old when he died from SMARD (Spinal Muscular Atrophy with Respiratory Distress) in February 2020.Since then Andy, from Prenton, Wirral, has set himself the mission of fundraising on behalf of Claire House Children's Hospice, which provided end-of-life care to Charlie in his last days.He makes regular trips to Mount Snowdon in North Wales in tribute to Charlie's favourite film being the animated classic The Snowman.
Andy, 37, said: "It's been an emotional time. The Snowman is of great sentimental value. I used to sit and watch it all the time with Charlie while he was in intensive care, and in his final hours."To get myself ready for the challenge next year, I'm doing training and fitness walks, wearing my fundraising T-shirt. People often come up and ask me what it's for and I explain to them."This time, Andy met a man on Snowdon and explained why he was there. When he checked his fundraising page later, he saw he'd been given £100 with this message: "We were the guys who met you on Snowdon. We think you are incredible. If you do a climb during the next school holidays let me know. Me and my son would love to join you."
Andy went on: "I get a lot of small donations on my fundraising page that way, but £100 is the biggest single one I've had. I was absolutely made up."Often I don't remember each and every person I speak to, but when I saw the amount I wanted to get in touch with him to thank him."I managed to find him through the fundraising page and he said he and his son would love to join me on one of my climbs in the future."Andy, who lives with partner Sarah, said: "We just wanted to give something back. I've set a target of £25,000 which is a big amount, but it will all go to Claire House and they can distribute the funds however they want. We just want to help other poorly children."
He is planning a major fundraising drive next year - he and his team intend to build three giant snowmen on the summits of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon as part of a Three Peaks challenge.Andy's fundraising page can be found here.