At 82, Tony Leppard thinks nothing of stepping up to the ultimate stair climbing event, the Stadium Challenge, in order to raise as much as he can for his local children’s charity.

The first of its kind in England, The Stadium Challenge is giving participants the chance to take on the iconic Twickenham Stadium and its thousands of steps on Saturday 23 March. The event is our biggest climbing challenge to date, and marks the first time Twickenham Stadium has ever hosted such an event.

Whitton locals, Tony, and his wife Kay, have been stalwart supporters of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices for over 20 years, first becoming involved when Tony signed up for the 1999 London Marathon, after Kay suggested he do it in aid of a local charity. Since then the couple haven’t looked back, alongside numerous challenge events, they lead the Whitton Friends Group which has raised £370,000 since its inception, and are charity Ambassadors.

Now two decades later, Tony is turning his sights to Twickenham Stadium. “When I saw the Stadium Challenge, I thought that’s a bit different, and certainly something I can do! I might not be able to do half marathons anymore but I’m up for this challenge,” he said.

“Living in Whitton, I know the Stadium well and am a big Rugby fan – Harlequins of course! So I thought it would be a great opportunity to experience the stadium in a unique way whilst raising money for this wonderful charity.”

The Stadium Challenge combines ultimate ups and daring downs in one of the world’s most iconic surroundings, and with three varied routes available, it’s a perfect event for all ages and abilities. What’s more, every penny raised will go towards supporting us at our two hospices, Shooting Star House, a few miles from Twickenham in Hampton, and Christopher’s in Guildford, as well as our Hospice at Home service which provides over 200 family visits every month.

Tony will be joined on his challenge by his nine-year-old neighbour, Hugo, with the pair taking on the Classic route of 3,200 steps. “Our neighbours Tony and Kay work so hard to raise money for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, so if Tony can do this challenge at 82, so can I at nine!” said Hugo.

Training has been going well, “I’ve most recently done 12 circuits of the stairs in the Treaty Centre in Hounslow, which is more than 1600 steps up and down – which warranted a few funny looks and explanations needed to the shoppers!” said Tony. “I enjoyed a very welcome coffee shop visit to have a sit down afterwards. I’m walking about 50km each week, so things are looking good, and it’s great news that my young friend, Hugo, is taking on the challenge with me to see that I get up to no mischief!”

Jane De Lay, Head of Community Engagement at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said, “It’s no surprise to hear Tony is once again taking on a challenge to raise money for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices – and to hear he’s already raised an amazing £1000! He and Kay have been such wonderful supporters of the charity for many years – and we truly can’t thank them enough for all they have done for us. We look forward to cheering Tony and Hugo on at Twickenham Stadium and can’t wait to hear what Tony gets up to next – there’s no stopping him!”

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices rely on supporters donations for 90% of its funding. They help by providing respite care, short breaks, family activities and pre and post-bereavement support. Challenge Events, such as the Stadium Challenge are an amazing way for supporters to help us make every moment count for the families who are facing the unimaginable.

Fancy taking on the Stadium Challenge yourself? There is still time to sign up!

You can support Tony and Hugo’s fundraising efforts by visiting their donation pages –
Tony – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tony-leppard and Hugo – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hugowhitton