New Year Honours: 'Captain' Tobias Weller, 11, celebrates becoming youngest recipient

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  • Captain Tom Moore
    British Military (1920-2021)

An 11-year-old boy has become the youngest honours recipient on record after completing a series of fundraising challenges during the pandemic.

Tobias Weller is joined by Max Woosey, 12, who has become the second youngest person known to have been honoured.

Both boys have received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for charity fundraising work.

Tobias, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was nicknamed "Captain" after he was inspired by his hero Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the coronavirus lockdowns.

He said he was "chuffed to bits" to have been recognised by the Queen after raising £157,000 for the special educational needs Paces School, where he is a student, and The Children's Hospital Charity, in his home town of Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Tobias, who raised the money by completing sponsored walks and marathons, said he now cannot wait for a chance to meet the Queen at a royal garden party.

His most recent challenge involved an Ironman challenge, completed over the course of a year, involving 180km (111 miles) on his trike, a 4km (2.5 miles) swim and running the length of a full marathon.

Tobias was told about the honour just a month after his 11th birthday.

He told Sky News correspondent Charlotte Lomas: "It feels absolutely amazing to be honoured by the Queen. My mum told me about the award on Christmas Day and I thought, 'wow! I am so excited'.

"It makes me feel magnificent. I love raising money for charity and knowing I have helped other children is a lovely feeling. I am so proud and privileged."

Max, from Devon, has raised more than £570,000 for North Devon Hospice by spending every night in a tent since 28 March 2020.

He was inspired to help the hospice after staff cared for a close family friend, 74-year-old Rick Abbott, in the last days of his life.

Before he died, Mr Abbott, a keen camper and outdoor sports enthusiast, gave Max his tent, telling him: "Promise me you'll have your own adventures in it."

Tennis champion Emma Raducanu, who won the US Open aged 18 in September, joins Max and Tobias as one of the younger names on the list.

There is no official list of those honoured by age, but very few children have received honours since the modern system began.

Paralympic swimming sensation Ellie Simmonds hit the headlines in 2009 when she was made an MBE at the age of 14 and she remains the youngest recipient of that honour.

Higher up the honours ladder, no one under 18 has ever become a knight or dame.

The youngest person in modern times to achieve this honour is solo yachting hero Ellen MacArthur, who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005, at the age of 28.

Andy Murray is the youngest man to receive the same rank when he was made a Knight Bachelor in 2017 at the age of 29.

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