13 Year old Army Cadet Frankie Newbatt from Whittlesey is engaged in a huge fund raising project for the charity Helipads for Hospitals. He has successfully networked with local people and businesses to collect thousands of aluminium cans, and is engaged in daily sponsored cycling with the intention of completing 874 miles; the distance from Lands End to John O’Groats.
The charity Helipads for Hospitals is appealing for aluminium cans which can be recycled and used in the manufacture of helipads. These will allow helicopters carrying critically ill patients to save crucial time by landing closer to life saving facilities.
This project is part of Frankie’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Course. The DofE course challenges young people with a series of self-improvement exercises, including a six-month long volunteering component, and is supported by The Army Cadet Force, of which Frankie is a member at Whittlesey Detachment. The Army Cadet Force also places emphasis on community work, and having previously fund-raised for Helipads for Hospitals, one of his instructors suggested the charity to Frankie and his family. His Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Representative Sergeant Lloyd Lester said; ‘He’s an inspiration. He has already done more in two weeks than most cadets would in six months. What he has achieved has really blown me away.’
Frankie has been supported by his parents, Lisa and Matthew, who have assisted Frankie with encouragement and networking with local businesses, many of whom are now collecting cans on Frankie’s behalf. They have also helped him to set up a successful social media campaign to spread the word. His promotional efforts have included a letter he has just sent to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, asking for help due to The Prince’s connections with the local area and the Air Ambulance.
His sponsored cycling efforts involve cycling 10-20 miles a day around The Whittlesey area, which has helped to keep him fit and active during the lockdown. Frankie is enthusiastic both about The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the fundraising, saying; I feel like this is a really good opportunity, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award should open doors for me in the future. Doing charity work for Helipads for Hospitals is a really good cause, and I’m really proud of my family for their help, and really pleased with all the support I have been getting from local people- its been fantastic.’
Army Cadet spokesman Doug Stuart said; ‘Cadet Newbatt is demonstrating many important values we like to see in our cadets, drive, determination, discipline, initiative, and wanting to help others. It’s wonderful to see Frankie's local community coming together to help support him in this worthy cause. His fundraising efforts will make a real difference to others, and the skills he is developing now, and the Award he is working towards, will be of great help to him in the future’.
You can support Frankie with donations at;
You can also contact Frankie’s parents through this page if you have any aluminium cans for collection.
Text and pictures by PI Doug Stuart