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British Empire Medal recipient, 13, is up for his latest charity challenge

Inspirational youngster Tobias Weller is gearing up for a new challenge, saying he is determined to continue fundraising for the school that has helped him so much.

The 13-year-old, who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism, was the youngest recipient of the British Empire Medal (BEM) when he was awarded the honor in 2022 after completing a series of fundraising challenges, starting with an isolation marathon during the Covid pandemic.

Now the Sheffield teenager, known as Captain Tobias, is gearing up for a 10km race this weekend to help raise even more money for his former school.

Tobias has already raised more than £168,000 for Paces School, in Sheffield, and the city’s Children’s Hospital Charity.

“They really need a schoolroom,” he said.

“It’s really important for me to help the Paces because I’ve been with the Paces since I was three years old.

“Paces helped me tremendously and I wouldn’t be as physically capable as I am today if it wasn’t for them.”

Tobias will use his all-terrain wheelchair to complete the Dearne Valley 10K in Manvers, South Yorkshire, on Sunday with a team from Totley Athletics Club.

He said he’s calling this challenge T-in-the-Valley because it follows one of his previous fundraising events, which he called T-in-the-Park.

I love it when people cheer and applaud me, it makes me feel magnificent

Tobias Weller

Tobias said: “It’s going to be really tough because even though I’m not walking or running, I’ll be bouncing around in my wheelchair trying to keep my balance as my team of runners take it down the course.

“I always say that whatever you do, you should try your hardest, push yourself as hard as you can, but most of all, have fun.”

He said: “It would be amazing if people came to Manvers Lake on Sunday to support me and my team. I would feel full of pieces.

“I love it when people cheer and applaud me, it makes me feel magnificent.”

Tobias’ BEM was presented to him at Paces School by the Countess of Wessex – now the Duchess of Edinburgh – who joked that he might need a new home to fit all his awards.

The ceremony came a week after Tobias was named Young Fundraiser of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards.

His record as the youngest person to appear on an honors list was broken last year when nine-year-old Tony Hudgell was awarded the BEM.

Last year, Tobias and his mother Ruth Garbutt spent their coronation weekend eating sandwiches and cakes with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US First Lady Jill Biden as guests in Downing Street for the big coronation lunch.

He was nicknamed ‘The Captain’ after being inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start fundraising during the pandemic lockdowns.

Tobias met his hero when he won the inaugural Captain Sir Tom Moore Young Unsung Hero award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2020 event.

Tobias’ challenges included an Ironman, completed over the course of a year – traveling 112 miles on a tricycle, swimming 2.5 miles and running the length of a full marathon – 42 miles.

The Dearne Valley 10K is organized by Manvers Waterfront Boat Club and Paces, which is a specialist school and center for children, adults and families living with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders.

More details can be found at justgiving.com/page/captaintobiasforpaces.