A seven-year-old Penllergaer schoolboy has started a year-long walking challenge for the Wales Air Ambulance after being inspired by a child who was honoured with a British Empire Medal from the Queen.

On New Year’s Day Rhys Gough, was watching the morning headlines when it shared the story of eleven-year-old Tobias Weller, who was the youngest child to receive a commendation from the Queen.

Rhys’ proud mum Kirsty said: “Rhys was fascinated and asked lots of questions in relation to fundraising. He was also very keen to meet the Queen! He asked if he could do something similar to raise money for charity.  We decided that we would attempt to walk the equivalent of 2km per day for the whole of 2022. Our house is on the flight path from Morriston Hospital, so we often see the Wales Air Ambulance. I suggested raising for Charity and Rhys was amazed at how much money it costs to keep this service going.”

Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep the helicopters flying.

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.

This is the first time that the Pontillw Primary School pupil has done a fundraiser and has so-far raised £380 of his £500 target for the lifesaving charity. Rhys wears a smart watch to track his daily activity.

Along with walking Rhys, also gets his steps in through playing rugby, but the majority of the time they take the dog out for a walk in the evenings and on weekends, which easily covers his 2km a day.

Kirsty, added: “On rainy days though he does need some encouragement but in the whole is enjoying the challenge. His friends and family have been really proud of Rhys for doing this for charity.

“At the end of February Rhys has walked a total of 290.44km this year which includes day to day steps! He is so proud of this achievement so far.”

James Cordell, Wales Air Ambulance’s community fundraiser, said: “Thank you to Rhys for taking on the huge challenge of walking every day for a whole year to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance. Despite his young age, he’s passionate and determined to complete the challenge to help others.

“Fundraisers like, Rhys’ will help our medics continue to be there for the people of Wales 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

You can show your support to Rhys by donating to his fundraiser via his Just Giving page ‘Rhys walking challenge for 2022’