Joshua, aged seven, takes on charity walk inspired by his great grandmother
A seven-year-old boy has decided to go on a three and a half mile walk to raise funds for the charity which have supported his great-grandma.
Joshua Palmer was inspired to organise a walk from his Meadowhead home to the home of his favourite football team – Sheffield United – when he saw his mum and dad collecting clothes to be taken to the charity shop.
The youngster chose to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK as his great-grandma Jennie Powell, aged 76, has had Parkinson’s disease for the last 12 years.
Proud mum Charlotte Palmer said: “A couple of weeks ago my husband, Rob, was sorting some clothes to go to the charity shop and Joshua asked about charities and how he could help a charity.
“They discussed Cancer Research, MS as his grandad and late uncle suffered with the disease, and then went onto Parkinson’s.
“His great-grandma has suffered with Parkinson’s for 12 years and had done a bit of fundraising herself before her symptoms became too much to bear.
“They then went to talking about how he could help. As an avid Sheffield United fans, he and his dad decided to organise a walk from our home in Meadowhead to Bramall Lane on the last match of the season all in aid of Parkinson’s UK.
“He wants to raise as much as he can to make his great-grandma Jennie proud. Safe to say she is a very proud lady.”
Joshua, who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, (ASD), had originally aimed to raise £100 for the charity, but he made that within just 24 hours of launching his online JustGiving page.
At the time Sheffield Telegraph went to press, he had raised £439.50.
Charlotte, aged 29, added: “Joshua’s ASD does make him very indecisive and as such unpredictable, but he’s not once changed his mind on wanting to do this which is very unlike him.
“Once he’s made a decision to do something he often changes his mind several times and gets upset.
“Because of Joshua’s ASD he doesn’t often show his affectionate side either, so it’s fantastic to see him doing such a selfless thing off his own back.”
Joshua has a close bond with his great grandma and was inspired by her to plan the walk.
Charlotte said: “He loves to visit his grandma Jennie and does chores for her, such as cleaning her flat for her. We kept this a secret from her until he had hit his target and needless to say when he broke the news to her she was overwhelmed and immensely proud, as are we.”
Joshua's fundraising efforts have already got the support of his favourite team, with John Egan being the first person to donate to him via his online JustGiving page, giving £50.
Charlotte said: “Joshua is absolutely beside himself at how much he has raised in such a short space of time - especially when he saw that he has received a donation from one of his Blades heroes.”
Before her diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Jennie was a keen artist and has since used her talents to raise money for the Parkinson’s UK herself.
Charlotte said: “In the 1970s, she redeveloped an old, ruined farm house from scratch with her late husband, David, and turned it into a treasured holiday home in Anglesey.
“Unfortunately, following her diagnosis, the upkeep of this became too much for her and she had to make the difficult decision to sell it. However, this inspired her to write a short memoir about this experience; the proceeds of which went to Parkinson’s UK.
“In addition to this, despite her restricted mobility, she still finds the time and energy to design and create bespoke jewellery out of pebbles she found on the beach in Anglesey - the proceeds of which also go the charity.”
Joshua and his dad Rob, also aged 29, will be doing their charity walk before the last Sheffield United home match of the season, on Saturday April 27, with a view to arrive at the ground around 1pm.
Charlotte said: “The walk itself would be 3.5 miles, and will take around two hours. We are planning, weather depending, for Jennie to be there at the finish to greet him -hopefully along side some players as they arrive at the ground.
“It’s looking likely that Joshua and his dad will be doing the walk together, with hopefully myself and his little brother Toby, aged four, joining them for a short stint.”
Charlotte added: “We cannot describe how proud we are of Joshua that he has decided to do this. His enthusiasm over this has been a joy to watch. We feel this will inspire him to do more for charity.
“We’re thrilled with the amount of support Joshua has received from friends, family and even complete strangers who have heard about his walk through word of mouth and on social media.
“Joshua is also excited to see his total raising and it’s making him more excited for the day to arrive. It’s the first thing he asks when he gets home from school, if anyone else has donated.
“We never expected this level of support but we’d love to eventually reach four figures for this great charity, Parkinson’s UK.”
To donate to Joshua and keep updated with his progress, please visit his online JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joshuapalmerwalk.