Oliver’s Calvert Army
1693. Oliver Voysey
Oliver Voysey, aged 13, from Newcastle, raised over £250,000 during lockdown to support the reopening of the ‘Lake District Calvert Trust’, the outdoor activity centre which has helped transform his life.
Oliver requires specialist care having suffered a brain injury when he was two days old, which left him with sight loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties. Through the Lake District Calvert Trust, which is dedicated to ensuring people with disabilities can enjoy the benefits of outdoor activities in a safe and accessible way, Oliver has been able to experience opportunities such as rock climbing, abseiling, cycling and canoeing which have been vital for his rehabilitation. After the trust was threatened with closure due to loss of income during lockdown, Oliver wanted to help ensure the centre could reopen by completing a series of 13 charities for his 13th birthday, such as a 13-minute treadmill walk, completing a 13-minute walk and scoring 13 goals in a penalty shoot-out. Initially hoping to raise £25,000, his appeal has received support from thousands of donors, culminating in over £248,000, helping to ensure the centre could reopen its doors on 21 June.
In a personal letter to Oliver, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was lost in awe hearing about your phenomenal fundraising appeal to help the activity centre you love. Through your campaign, you are helping so many other disabled people enjoy an exciting host of activities such as canoeing, abseiling and horse riding at the Lake District Calvert Trust.”
Sarah Voysey, Oliver’s Mum, said:
“We are absolutely delighted that Oliver (together with his sister Elizabeth) are being commended for their hard work in fundraising during the pandemic. Life is very hard for Oliver and he struggles with the most basic of daily tasks. The challenges he did to raise money were exhausting for him and made him achieve a sense of pride he’s not experienced before. This recognition from the Prime Minister is just wonderful and is the icing on the cake for Oliver. He achieved an almost unattainable goal and it’s wonderful that he’s being recognised for the effort this took. Thank you. We are so very proud of him and his sister.”
The Lake District Calvert Trust’s Fundraising Manager, Jennifer Scott, commented:
“What truly wonderful recognition for Oliver’s endeavours. Together with the support of his parents and sister, Oliver really created a turning point for the Lake District Calvert Trust in its darkest hour. Thanks to these amazing achievements and the awareness that Oliver shone on our charity, a further 3000 people took up the call to join ‘Oliver’s Calvert Army’ and helped secure our immediate future. We are, and will remain, incredibly grateful to the Voysey family.”
Pictured above: Oliver (middle) cutting the ribbon to reopen the Calvert Trust with (left to right) father Gary, sister Elizabeth, mother Sarah, Charles Dean (another disabled supporter who completed a sponsored 1,000+miles wheelchair push to fundraise for the trust), and Sean Day, Centre Director.
Below: Oliver also cutting the ribbon by zipwire
Photo Credit: Steve Barber