South Scotland

Borders schoolboy completes year sleeping in a tent

Braden Collins Image copyright Borders Press Agency

A Borders schoolboy is set to complete a challenge to spend a whole year sleeping in a tent.

Braden Collins, 10, wanted to raise money for the charity Diabetes UK.

After enjoying spending the night in his back garden last May following his mother's birthday party, he vowed to keep it up for a full 365 days.

Despite the harshness of the weather at his home on the banks of St Mary's Loch in the Scottish Borders, he will reach his goal this weekend.

Over the past year, Braden has gone with his family for holidays in the south of England - but he took his tent with him and camped out in their back gardens, accompanied by his pet dog Maisie.

On Saturday he will mark his "One Year Campaversary" with a special gathering of family and friends at his home in the heart of the Yarrow Valley.

Braden said: "I felt like camping for a whole year last May.

"I have slept outside every night through snow, gales and storms.

"One time, my tent blew down and I thought it was 7.30am so I went inside and started doing my homework. Then I realised it was only 3.30am."

Image copyright Borders Press Agency

Braden said he wanted to raise money for Diabetes UK "because my dad has diabetes and I wish he didn't".

His mother Claire Collins, 44, said she was proud of her son's feat of endurance, although she had reservations at first.

She said: "I had a party for my birthday on 27 May last year and we had quite a full house so Braden, who was nine at the time, 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.

"It was lovely summer weather and Braden slept so well and enjoyed the experience so much that 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."

She said that both she and her husband Paul had been "naturally sceptical" but he had proved them wrong.

'Strength of character'

"Every bedtime, he goes out to his tent with his head torch, his hot water bottle, his toy dog Alan and his real dog - our young Border Terrier Maisie - who sleeps out with him," she said.

"In the morning he comes in for his breakfast and gets ready for school.

"He seems to take 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 45th birthday - the family is holding a party on Saturday night.

"Paul and I are so proud of Braden," she said. "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."

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