Have a Holly-Day - call to join inspirational Norfolk teen for countywide garden sleep-out
PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 July 2020
It’s not quite the deep dark forest where survival skills will be tested and camp fire songs sung.
But there are a couple of guinea pigs and a particularly friendly cat helping inspirational scout Holly Porter through her lockdown camping challenge.
The 14-year-old is spending 100 nights under canvas in her back garden in Ormesby as she makes a promise to do her best in true scout tradition.
And a call is being made for everyone to pitch in on her final night, July 29, by sleeping in their gardens too.
At 80 days in the weather has thrown everything at her, and the tent has ripped multiple times.
It’s been either too hot, too cold or too noisy (thanks to the seagulls).
But she has the best of inspirations - her dad, and the charity that has helped her in the wake of his sudden death last year aged 49.
Having set a target of £100 for Norfolk-based bereavement charity Nelson’s Journey she is now up to more than £1,000, boosted by support from TV scientist Professor Ben Garrod and celebrity scout ambassadors rower Helen Glover and animal adventurer Steve Backshall.
Holly, a member of 1st Caister Scout group, normally shares a bedroom with her sister Daisy, 16, and initially only planned a few alfresco sleeps to gain a ‘nights away’ badge.
“It is really, really cold at night but in the morning the sun hits you,” she said.
“The week it was roasting I was up at 5am, and then the tent ripped during the high winds.
“The best thing is having my own space.
“And it is nice at night hearing the rain, It’s really relaxing.
“The worst thing is the hot mornings when I have to open it all up.”
She joined the scouts from brownies four years ago and says the organisation is “everything”.
A top archer and award-winning Norfolk shooter she is also a patrol leader.
“I just love scouts,” she said. “I like being more active and the scouts gives me that.”
Mum Annette Kirk hailed her daughter’s “get on with it” attitude, adding: “She is amazing. She has always been one to get on with things and the scouts has really brought that out in her.”
Holly said she felt “lost” when her dad David Porter died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Norwich.
Although her parents had separated she spent every other weekend with him and said they were close.
Memory activities and outward bound fun at Sheringham with other children also coping with loss had really helped she said - all paid for and provided by Nelson’s Journey.
“It’s just amazing that they can do that, especially for people that haven’t got any money,” she said.
Holly, who wants to work with animals, said the sleep-out and fundraising was a way to remember her dad, not just for her, but for everyone who knew him.
Video messages prepared by leading lights in the scout movement had been a real boost, she added.
“It’s just nice to know people are behind you. They all know how close this is to my heart,” she said.
Impressed by her determination, Norfolk scouts are now calling on as many people as possible to camp in their garden (or build a den in the living room) on Wednesday, July 29 to show their support for Holly, on her final 100th night.
The call to action involves a clap for Holly at 8pm which can be shared on social media via @norfolkscouts.
They are also asking people to consider donating a suggested £3 ‘pitch fee’ to Holly’s fundraising total.
Matthew Burrell, Norfolk Scouts county commissioner, said “The whole team at Norfolk Scouts are inspired by Holly’s courage and resilience, she is demonstrating what we’re seeing time and again, that young people are being resourceful and making the most of out of this unique time.
“Holly has just taken things to the next level to help other people.”
To visit Holly’s online donation page here justgiving.com/fundraising/hollys100nightcampout or click this link.
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