Boy, 13, who received British Empire Medal, set for latest charity challenge

Tobias, known as Captain Tobias, who has cerebral palsy, was the youngest person at the time to be awarded the medal two years ago.

Tobias Weller has already raised more than £168,000 for Paces School in Sheffield
Tobias Weller has already raised more than £168,000 for Paces School in Sheffield (Danny Lawson/PA)

Inspirational youngster Tobias Weller is preparing for a new challenge, saying he is determined to keep fundraising for the school that helped him so much.

The 13-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was the youngest person to receive the British Empire Medal (BEM), when he was awarded the honour in 2022 after completing a series of fundraising challenges, starting with a lockdown marathon during the Covid pandemic.

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

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

Tobias was presented with his British Empire Medal by the then Countess of Wessex in 2022
Tobias was presented with his British Empire Medal by the then Countess of Wessex in 2022 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“They really need a school hall,” he said.

“It’s really important to me that I help Paces because I went to Paces from when I was three years old.

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

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

He said he is calling this challenge T-in-the-Valley, as it follows one of his previous fundraising events which he called T-in-the-Park.

Tobias said: “It’s going to be really hard as, although I’m not walking or running it, I’ll be bouncing around in my wheelchair, trying to keep balanced while my team of runners are belting it around that course.

“I always say that, whatever you do, you should try your best, push yourself as hard as you can but, above all, enjoy yourself.”

He said: “It would be amazing if people came to Manvers Lake on Sunday to support me and my team. I’d be chuffed to bits.

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

Tobias’s 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 house to fit in 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 feature in an honour list was broken last year when nine-year-old Tony Hudgell was award the BEM.

Last year, Tobias and his mother Ruth Garbutt spend the coronation weekend munching sandwiches and cakes with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the US First Lady Jill Biden as guests in Downing Street for the Coronation Big Lunch

He was nicknamed “Captain” after he was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to start raising money during the pandemic lockdowns.

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

Tobias’s challenges included an Ironman, completed over the course of a year – travelling 112 miles on his trike, swimming 2.5 miles and running the length of a full marathon – 26.2 miles.

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

More details can be found at