Exning: Teenager’s year under the stars for charities that saved his sister’s life

A BRAVE teenager’s battle against the elements continues in his year-long mission to sleep in a hammock every night for charity.

Rob Challinor, 14, from Exning, near Newmarket, has been sleeping outside since last August to raise money for the two charities that helped save his sister’s life following an horrific horse-riding accident.

The keen Scout has come up against snow, strong winds, freezing rain and sub-zero temperatures in his attempt to raise �365 for charities, Magpas and the Child Brain Injury Trust.

Rob, a student of Bottisham Village College, said: “Magpas – the emergency medical charity – saved my sister’s life and now I want to help them. Usually I am in the hammock by 9pm on a school night and awake by 7am.

“I’m as warm as toast in my duvet with my dog Duke. I have a Jack Russell and a Boxer, but the Boxer is more cuddly and so when he is ready he climbs into a gap I leave for him in the hammock.

“The night before last my feet got cold for the first time after my bedding rolled up. I can hear the A14 in the background and there’s a road about 800 metres from my house which I only really notice if there’s a loud noise. My friends think I am mad, but I’m enjoying it.”

Six years ago, his sister, Kelly-Ann, suffered serious facial injuries in the horse-riding accident.

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Doctors warned she might die, or suffer severe brain damage. But now, Kelly-Ann, 16, is deputy head girl at Bottisham Village College and is still happiest while she is riding horses.

Rob’s mum, Carol Challinor said: “Kelly-Ann is an ambassador for the charities and so Robert wanted to do this to raise money for the two charities.”

“The charities helped my daughter six years ago so we felt we would like to do something to raise money for them.

“The only reason my daughter survived was because she was wearing her protection helmet.

“Robert is an outdoors sort of person and he always wanted to try out a hammock. He could not manage to put it up in his bedroom so he put it up outside and asked to sleep out there.

“It is just one of these things that he likes doing, he started sleeping in the garden after he enjoyed the experience on a Scout Camping trip.

“People think he is a bit nuts doing this.”

Rob spent a couple of months sleeping outside last year as rehearsal and has so far raised �193.

He has even written to his hero, Chief Scout Bear Grylls, about his charity effort.