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Ian Alcorn, from West Bridgford in Nottinghamshire, is calling on campers to help raise money for the NHS.
Campers can help by pitching and staying overnight in a tent, caravan or motorhome in their back garden or driveway, in a campaign called the Great British Camp-out.
Ian set out to raise £100 in early April by pitching his tent and spending the night in it with his family, wife Lucy and children Lola, 12 and William, seven.
He encouraged friends and family to do the same and to donate £2 to NHS Charities Together, but when the campaign was picked up by TV and news media, and went viral on social media, the fundraising topped £160,000 shortly after Easter weekend.
The idea came to Ian soon after lockdown measures were introduced by the British Government in late March to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“I’m a self-employed bathroom fitter, so I found myself with some time on my hands,” said Ian. “I thought it would be great to take the kids camping but obviously with the current rules we can't, so I thought why not camp in the garden. It was just a way of entertaining the kids and I hoped it would raise £100. But I never expected it to grow like this.”
The Club has helped spread the word on its Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 followers, and Ian has also received backing from outdoor retailers GO Outdoors
Now, more than 12,000 people have donated to the cause.Ian has also received lots of great feedback from people camping out in the US, Canada, Spain, Australia, France,
New Zealand, Belgium and Germany.
Ian described the response to the Great British Camp-Out Facebook page as “phenomenal”, with people asking if they can “keep their pitch” and camp again.
And with lockdown measures still in place at time of writing, and likely to apply for many Club members over the coming weeks and months, Ian encourages everyone who can to get involved: “It’s a great chance to bond with your family and support our health service. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d get so much interest and raise so much money - it’s been overwhelming and emotional.”
For information and donations, visit Ian’s Just Giving page online.
ROB GANLEY | 19 May 2020