Exning: Rob Challinor, 15, sleeps 365th night in a hammock

THERE is no place like your own bed at the end of a long day.

So, the idea of sleeping in a hammock outside - come rain, snow, sun and hail - for 365 nights would be most people’s idea of hell.

But, this is exactly what 15-year-old Rob Challinor from Exning, near Newmarket, last night achieved for two worthwhile causes.

Nicknamed ‘Rob Ray Mears Challinor’ by his family for his love of the outdoors, he took on the feat in his garden to raise money for Magpas - The Emergency Medical Charity - and the Child Brain Injury Trust.

He said Magpas saved the life of his sister Kelly-Ann, 16, after she suffered a horse-riding accident seven years ago and the Child Brain Injury Trust supported her and her family.


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Last night, Rob, who is an Explorer Scout, was the centre of media attention as friends joined him for his final night in the hammock.

But the teenager, who attends Bottisham Village College, brushed off it was even a challenge at all.

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“It’s not really a challenge - more a grit and determination type of thing.”

He said keeping dry had not been too difficult because he had a tarpaulin, adding how he had a two-season sleeping bag and his Boxer dog Duke - whom he would cuddle up with - for warmth.

He even admitted he would probably miss his hammock, but said he could now do with a bed as it was not good for his back.

He said the challenge had given him “the knowledge I can accomplish something big,” and the most memorable part? “Probably waking up, it’s bitterly cold and there’s just a blanket of white outside.”

On her brother’s challenge, Kelly-Ann said: “I think he is absolutely insane, but we are very, very proud of him for doing it. He’s an absolute nutter, but he’s done brilliantly.”

Talking of the accident, Kelly-Ann explained how the horse she was riding landed on her face, leading her to need surgery, two weeks in hospital and a couple of months off school.

These days she is still a keen horserider, has achieved excellent GCSE results and is an ambassador for the Child Brain Injury Trust.

She said wearing a helmet had saved her life, and this is a message she is promoting through her role with the trust.

Rob has so far raised �1,600 between the two charities through the challenge which he said he was “extremely pleased with”.

A week-and-a-half ago, him and his family met his idol, Ray Mears, who inspired him to become a scout, which was arranged through Magpas.

Antonia Brickell, head of communications at Magpas, said: “We are absolutely bowled over with the commitment, the dedication, the focus of this young man. He’s quite incredible and especially doing this in honour of his big sister, it’s very, very special, and it was an absolute pleasure to organise for him to meet his hero who inspired him.”

She added how he had raised an incredible amount for the charity - which relies on the generosity of the public - and his challenge had also helped raise awareness of what it does.

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