Devon's 'tent boy' becomes one of youngest-ever recipients of British Empire Medal

Max Woosey will reach a milestone 500th night camping outside tonight (August 10)
Max Woosey is one of the youngest-ever recipients of the British Empire Award Credit: Seth Conway

A 12-year-old boy has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) after he spent more than 760 days camping in his garden to raise money for North Devon Hospice.

Max Woosey, from Braunton in Devon, has raised more than £640,000 by spending every night since March 28, 2020 in camping in his garden.

He named on the New Year's Honours list at the end of 2021 and received the award today (6 May) at the Commando Training centre in Lympstone.

The award was for 'services to fundraising for the North Devon Hospice during Covid-19’.

Max is one of the youngest people ever to receive this award, narrowly being pipped to the post by 11-year-old "Captain" Tobias Weller.

In the past politicians, athletes and actors have all received the BEM.

Max wanted to raise money for the hospice after staff cared for a close family friend, 74-year-old Rick Abbott in the last days of his life.

Mr Abbott, who had been a keen camper and outdoor sports enthusiast, gave Max his first tent before he died and Max promised Mr Abbott that he would have own adventures in it.

Since then, Max has spent nights at London Zoo, on hotel balconies and even camped in the garden of Number 10 Downing Street.

"The night at London Zoo was far from restful," Max said.

Max Woosey in his tent in his garden Credit: PA

“We were right next to the lion enclosure and the lions in that zoo face the walls when they roar to make it echo and make it louder, and it scares you so much.

“I did a search on my phone for ‘how high can lions jump?’”

In 2021 he inspired nearly 2,000 other young people to raise money for charities of their own through Max's Big Camp Out.

Tonight will be Max's 770th day sleeping in a tent - and he Max has no plans to head inside any time soon.

He said the hospice staff are "true heroes" for the "incredible work" they do.

“I just hope this award will help raise some money for the hospice.”