The Welsh fundraisers who stopped at nothing to support struggling charities through the pandemic

  • Report by ITV Wales Reporter Kate Lewis

Charities and the voluntary sector rely heavily on donations, so when the country went into lockdown on 23 March 2020, fundraising opportunities disappeared overnight.

It sparked warnings that many charities in Wales would be forced to close their doors for good.

Restrictions forced the closure of charity shops, the cancellation of fundraisers, and increased demand for support services - mounting pressure on organisations.

But as the pandemic took hold, so did the momentum of those wanting to make their lockdown count.

Thousands of volunteers came up with a variety of different ways to raise money for charities.

From carrying a 175kg piano up a mountain, to keeping care home residents company, here are just a few of those who have gone that extra mile during lockdown.

Ten-year-old Corey Williams carried a sack of potatoes up three mountains in south Wales. Credit: ITV Wales
  • The boy who carried a sack of potatoes up three mountains

Corey Williams used time off school to raise money for local hospitals by tackling three Rhondda mountains.

The mountains had gradients between 9.1% and 23% - but he went one step further, carrying a sack of potatoes up with him.

The ten-year-old Ton Pentre Junior School pupil raised almost £3,500.

Five-year-old Henry Edwards ran a marathon in ten days. Credit: Kathryn Rodgers
  • The five-year-old who ran a marathon in memory of his cousin

Henry Edwards, from Miskin, near Llantrisant, raised more than £11,000 for charity by running a marathon over ten days.

The Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Gymraeg Llantrisant pupil wanted to raise £100 for bereavement support charity 2 Wish Upon a Star, which helped the family after his cousin William died aged three.

But little Henry's determination to run 2.6 miles each day in memory of William touched the hearts of hundreds of supporters - and he smashed his original target.

91-year-old Rhythwyn Evans lapped his garden 91 times on his birthday. Credit: ITV Wales
  • The 91-year-old who walked 91 laps of his garden

At the spritely age of 91, Rhythwyn Evans, from Ceredigion, completed 91 laps of his bungalow.

Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, Mr Evans completed all 91 laps on his 91st birthday, starting at 7.30 in the morning and finishing at 5.30 in the afternoon.

He raised more than £44,000 to support NHS staff at his local health board Hywel Dda.

11-year-old Tyler Holland swam the length of the English Channel from his garden. Credit: ITV Wales
  • The boy who swam the length of the English Channel - from his garden

Could you swim the English Channel? Well, 11-year-old Tyler Holland did - from a three metre pool in his Flintshire garden.

The Castell Alun High School pupil had to complete a total of 25,344 strokes, while being attached to a wall by a cord, to cover the 22 mile distance.

His challenge raised more than £3,000, which he donated to the NHS.

Seven-year-old 'chatterbox' Hari Griffiths completed a sponsored silence. Credit: Griffiths family
  • The 'little chatterbox' who completed a sponsored silence

Seven-year-old Hari Griffiths, from Miskin, is described by all who know him as a 'little chatterbox'.

So when he decided to do a daily sponsored silence, his family thought this was going to be a big challenge for him.

For ten days, including his birthday, Hari had to stay quiet for two hours and 36 minutes.

He raised more than £2,000 for Velindre in memory of his aunt, Rhian, who died of cervical cancer when she was just 25.

Five-year-old Eva Hall sold rainbow-themed decorations from her garden. Credit: Eva Hall
  • The girl who sold handmade rainbow decorations

Eva Hall, from Marshfield in Cardiff, sold more than 150 rainbow decorations from her stall and online, raising more than £400 for the NHS and a Cardiff food bank.

Rainbows became a symbol of support and hope throughout the pandemic, with people displaying them in their windows and even painting their homes.

Initially, five-year-old Eva and her mum set the stall up in their front garden with just ten decorations to sell to the neighbours.

But they proved so popular that people from further afield would take a diversion during their daily exercise to purchase one.

Former Royal Marine Max Glover carried a 175kg piano up a 1,000ft mountain. Credit: ITV Wales
  • The former Royal Marine who carried a piano up a mountain

Former Royal Marine Max Glover is not one to shy away from a challenge.

In September, he carried a 175kg piano up a 1,000ft mountain in south Wales to raise money for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, which helped his friend recover from a double lung transplant operation.

The 33-year-old is no newcomer to a physical challenge, with previous feats including pulling a 1.7 tonne car 26.2 miles.

Key worker couple Kevin and Cath O'Connor walked almost 300 miles during their time off work. Credit: ITV Wales
  • The key worker couple who used their annual leave for sponsored 300 mile walk

Paramedic Kevin O’Connor and his emergency medical technician wife Cath, from Bargoed, gave up three weeks of their annual leave to complete the 298-mile Cambrian Way challenge.

The couple raised more than £11,000 for The Ambulance Staff Charity.

Nine-year-old Lilly Hewitt kept care home residents company during lockdown. Credit: ITV Wales
  • The nine-year-old who kept care home residents company

Lilly Hewitt spent much of her lockdown doing things for others.

Not only has she been speaking to residents at Shire Hall Care Home in Cardiff every week to lift their spirits, she also raised £1,500 for the Down's Syndrome Association, a cause close to her family's heart.

Her regular phone calls are appreciated among her friends in the care home, who said they always look forward to their chats with her.