1. ITV Report

Six-year-old with spina bifida raises nearly £300,000 for NHS

Frank Mills started off with the aim of raising £99 for NHS Charities Together but has now surpassed £175,000. Credit: Family

A six-year-old boy from Bristol with spina bifida - inspired by the fundraising efforts of Captain Tom Moore - is walking ten metres a day with the help of his walker.

Frank Mills started off with the aim of raising £99 for NHS Charities Together but is now close to raising £300,000.

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Thank you for the donations and continued support for this very worthy cause.

We have been completely overwhelmed by the response. People from all over the world have given their support. And we are truly humbled.

The NHS has been very good to our family over the years, and its value has been brought into sharp focus during the current crisis.

It is a privilege to be able to give something back to those who have given so much to us. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

– The Mills family, in response to raising more than £175,000

The youngster, who only started walking with the help of a frame 18 months ago, walks the ten metres a day outside the family home in Victoria Park.

Four weeks into the national lockdown, mum Janet explained, the family heard about Captain Tom's daily fundraising walk – and Frank just said: “I want to do that!”

We grabbed hold of that magic moment of motivation and we took his walker outside for him and chalked out ten metres on the pavement with a start and finish line and two metre ‘you can do it!’ markers.

Frank’s enthusiasm was not just surprising but invigorating and as he shouted at one of our neighbours to sponsor him, we thought why not? Maybe we could get some friends and family to support Frank.

We quickly put something up on JustGiving and shared the link on Facebook, and from that moment it took off! We cannot believe how people are responding.

– Frank's mum Janet Mills
Frank was inspired to walk by Captain Tom Moore Credit: PA

As well as having spina bifida, Frank was born prematurely, at just under 25 weeks, and spent nearly five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Bristol's Southmead Hospital.

Frank also received incredible on-going care at Bristol Children’s Hospital and in the community.

Credit: JustGiving

Frank’s parents, Tony and Janet, praised staff at both hospitals for their "absolutely amazing care and dedication".

Every time they drive past Bristol Children's Hospital, Frank says ‘that’s my hospital’ with great pride and affection, according to his parents.

The family say they have also benefited greatly from all the additional facilities and resources provided by the hospital’s Grand Appeal.

Both parents said they wanted to want to express their enormous gratitude for what the NHS has done for their family and is now providing for those patients with coronavirus.

We have called this challenge Frank’s Finish Line Fundraiser! At a time of great national anxiety, Captain Tom has given us a really good news story when we desperately needed one, especially inspiring our little lad Frank.

Like a lot of people, we have responded to Tom because he’s simply done what he could and is supporting a great cause, so dear to our nation’s hearts at this crazy time.

So many friends and neighbours have encouraged Frank, it’s been incredible! Folk have been so generous, especially at a time when people are struggling financially, and we would like to thank everyone who has supported Frank from the bottom of our hearts. It restores your faith in humanity.

– Frank's dad Tony Mills

Thank God for the NHS! The NHS is like a gem in the Crown Jewels, an institution we are so proud of and thankful for. The NHS was born out of a crisis and I really hope it will be reinvigorated after this one.

– Frank's mum Janet Mills

To support Frank and NHS Charities Together, click here.

For the latest on Captain Tom's fundraising effort, click here.