The Walker family with Katie Cameron, who helped organise the swimathon. From left: 13-year-old Holly Walker, 18-year-old Katie Cameron, Tim Walker, Debbie Walker and 11-year-old Emily Walker
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THE family and friends of a brave and caring Devauden teenager have raised more than £50,000 in his memory.
Tom Walker was a quiet and considerate pupil at Monmouth School for Boys and his unexpected death last June, aged just 13, has been felt by the whole community.
A three-year PhD studentship costs around £100,000 and Tom’s family and friends are organising events, with support of Cancer Research Wales, to fund a research project into leukaemia.
More than 650 people took part in a remarkable 12-hour swimathon, called Swim for Tom, earlier this month.
The event helped to raise £20,359.76, which included a generous donation from Monmouth-based business, Mandarin Stone.
Swim for Tom was organised by Tom’s 13-year-old sister Holly, Deputy Head Girl at Monmouth School for Girls, Katie Cameron, and Director of Sport, Miss Lou Scott.
Mr Tom Arrand, Acting Head at Monmouth School for Girls, reflected: “In 20 years of teaching, I have never witnessed a more impressive student-led event than the Swim for Tom.
“The sense of intrinsic motivation, founded on true meaning and belief was absolutely magical and played out across a whole community.
“In a world which can be shallow, unkind, self-interested, greedy and unfair, days like that shine a light on the best aspects of humanity. When you believe in something, you can achieve anything.
“Swimmers achieved an astonishing feat of 39,532 lengths of the pool amounting to 614 miles.”
Less than three months before he died, and before he knew he had leukaemia, Tom raised several hundred pounds for Cancer Research Wales in the first Brecon Beacons Night.
Now Tom’s friends and family will be following in his footsteps up Pen y Fan in the second Brecon Beacons Night Hike on Friday 22nd March.
Tom’s mum, Debbie Walker, said: “If we tally up all of the money raised starting from when Tom and his dad, Tim, did last year’s Brecon Beacons Night Hike, the money in Tom’s fund is £50,931.07.”
The tally includes money raised by Tom’s 11-year-old sister Emily who sang in Cwmbran town centre before Christmas (£229.23), a Christmas charity car park run by pupils in Town House at Monmouth School for Boys (£585), and collections made by a parent.
Mrs Walker added: “We are half-way to our overall goal of £100,000. This is an incredible achievement which shows what an amazing and overwhelmingly supportive community we live in. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”