His story touches all of Great Britain – including the royal family: nine-year-old Tony Hudgell is honored by King Charles III for his social commitment. honored with the British Empire Medal (BEM). Hudgell is the youngest medal recipient to date to be recognized in the New Year Honors. Traditionally, at the end of the year in Great Britain, people who have rendered services to the common good are awarded various honorary titles. This year’s 1,227 honorees include actress Emilia Clarke, singer Shirley Bassey and director Ridley Scott.

Hudgell first came to attention three years ago when he decided to raise funds for London’s Evelina Children’s Hospital. The boy owes his life to the doctors at the hospital. As an infant, Hudgell was abused by his birth parents and suffered massive injuries. At the age of six weeks, he was hospitalized with numerous broken bones and severe facial injuries. He developed blood poisoning and his organs failed – the doctors fought for his life for months.

They were able to save him, but in 2017 the then three-year-old had to have both of his lower legs amputated as a result of the abuse. Since then, Tony Hudgell has struggled through life with prostheses and crutches – supported by his foster parents, who took him in after his trauma and eventually adopted him.

Tony Hudgell came up with the idea of ​​collecting donations for other sick children in the summer of 2020. He wanted to cover a total of ten kilometers, 300 meters every day. He was modeled on 100-year-old Tom Moore, known as Captain Tom. The British veteran raised over £30 million for the National Health Service during the coronavirus pandemic by doing a hundred laps of his garden with his walker.

Hudgell’s goal was around 500 pounds. A sum that has been far exceeded: so far, thanks to his efforts, almost two million pounds have been raised for the children’s hospital. And Hudgell wants to keep going so that other children don’t have to go through the same things he did. His goal is to climb Mount Everest at the age of 13 – on crutches.

Princess Kate, who has been patron of Evelina Children’s Hospital since 2018, invited Tony Hudgell to her Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey in 2021. In December this year, Kate and the boy met again at a clinic appointment. The princess is now his “best friend,” Hudgell said in an interview afterwards. His mother Paula Hudgell raved about Kate: “She is so kind and has such a big heart.”

The upcoming award ceremony by King Charles III. the boy awaits with excitement. “It means a lot to me,” the nine-year-old told the news portal Sky News. He told the British newspaper “The Times” that he was happy and excited that he was now invited to one of the famous garden parties at Buckingham Palace.

With regard to his award, one question in particular concerns him at the moment: “Will it [the medal] be difficult or not?” Given all the suffering Tony Hudgell has endured so far in his young life, wearing a massive medal may be one of his easier challenges.

Quellen:   Sky News, The Times, BBC