Dante Valydon-Pillay has just completed the second round in a series of 12 charity challenges to raise money for Children in Need. The 12-year-old set out to tackle a new challenge every month for a year.
Dante became the winner of the first-ever Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year Award in November 2022 after hiking up the Sugarloaf, in Abergavenny every day for 5 days. He was shortlisted for the award by Children in Need and to his astonishment won the prestigious prize.
After completing his 5 day hike and raising over £1500 Dante wanted to do more charity challenges and raise more money for Children in Need. He said: “I love charity work. The best bit is knowing that I’ve helped other kids”. He decided that doing a year long series of challenges was perfect.
His mother commented: “Dante came to me and said he loved his 5 day hike for Children in Need so much he wanted to do lots more. I asked Dante what he had in mind and he presented me with a list of things he’d like to have a go at”.
On a bright and sunny Sunday on November 6 at Tredegar Park, Newport, Dante joined the ‘park run’ community runners to complete his 5k. He was wearing his special yellow Children in Need hoodie and his Mountain Warehouse sponsorship kit.
Before the race Will Renwick the first person to run all 189 of Wales’ mountains in one trip, sent him a message of support saying: “Good luck Dante! Remember to stretch after too - and make sure you’re fuelled up!” Dante intended to join the runners the previous day but due to the atrocious weather conditions he joined the Sunday runners instead.
They were there to complete a 2k run, but Dante, determined to complete his planned 5k, run the 1k route 5 times. On finishing the course, the other runners and members of the public cheered him on as he crossed the finish line.
Catching his breath after the race he said, “Oh my goodness! Wow, I’ve done it!...5k non-stop…My training has paid off and I’ve done it! It was a lot longer than I imagined, but I’m glad I gave it a go. Actually, I quite enjoyed it! I think I’m going to keep on running!”.
He is now looking forward to his third Children in Need challenge in December. He will be baking over 50 individual Christmas cakes for the elderly residents of Penpergwym House, Abergavenny. He has already spent several hours there planning the challenge with Nikki Burrage the Catering Manager and Cook. Afterward, she said, “It was lovely to meet such a talented individual and the residents thoroughly enjoyed your company we look forward to seeing you again in December”. Dante can’t wait!
Yesterday, (November 17) he travelled to Media City, Manchester to the live Children in Need entertainment extravaganza; enjoying three hours of comedy, music and surprise guests. His VIP tickets will include backstage passes to meet the stars.