A 10-year-old Borders boy will complete a feat of endurance this Saturday, May 27, by spending his 365th consecutive night under canvas, and he might even mark that milestone by carrying on camping for an extra night.
Yarrow schoolboy Braden Collins has astounded friends and family by trading his cosy bedroom for a tent in the garden of his home near St Mary’s Loch for the last year.
It all began on May 27 last year as his mum Claire celebrated her 44th birthday.
“We had quite a full house, so Braden and his older brother Eden thought it would be a good idea to pitch up their tent and camp out for the night in the garden,” recalled Claire.
“Braden slept so well and enjoyed the experience so much he said he wanted to do it again the next night.
“After a week, he told us he was determined to spend a whole year camping out.
“He thought that if he could achieve that goal, he could help raise some funds for Diabetes UK. It’s a cause close to his heart because his dad Paul is diabetic.
“Last summer, we visited my family in Cambridge and Paul’s family in Worcester, and Braden camped out in their gardens.
“It was the same story at the new year when we spent a week visiting relatives on the south coast.”
Claire says Braden has developed his own routine, explaining: “Every bedtime, he goes out to his tent with his headtorch, his hot-water bottle, his toy dog Alan and his real pet, our young Border terrier Maisie, who sleeps out with him.
“In the morning, he comes in for his breakfast and gets ready for school.
“He takes it all in his stride and has never once said he didn’t want to camp out, even during the cold nights of winter.”
To mark Braden’s achievement – and Claire’s birthday – the family are holding a hog roast party at their home on Saturday night.
“We’re hoping friends will come along and camp out with Braden and Maisie,” said Claire.
“We will put out a donation bucket and anyone else wishing to donate can go to the Just Giving website and search for ‘Braden’s campaversary’.
“Paul and I are so proud of Braden.
“It shows great strength of character to endure something like this for so long without any complaints.
“In our eyes, he’s a little superstar.”
Braden told us: “I really like camping and would like to raise money for Diabetes UK because my dad has diabetes and I wish he didn’t.”
To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Claire-Collins15