Little Lucas putting smiles on faces with dress-up charity challenge
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
What do Spider-Man, an imperial stormtrooper and Mr Bean all have in common?
They've all been spotted in Wymondham in the last few weeks!
Not the real things, of course – but one selfless seven-year-old has dressed up as each of them and more as he completes a charity challenge in the market town.
Lucas Cooke is on a mission to raise money for Comic Relief, ahead of Red Nose Day on Friday, March 19.
He came up with the challenge of walking through Wymondham every day for the four weeks leading up to the big day – donning fancy dress the whole time.
His mother Caroline said: "Lucas was five the last time we had Comic Relief and didn’t fully understand its importance. This year with Covid he is more aware of the need to help others, which is something Comic Relief does.
"Lucas asked if he could do some fundraising for the charity but initially he couldn’t think of anything to do. We slept on it overnight and came up with a dressing up challenge."
The idea was similar to that of four-year-old Eva Harrison, from nearby Hethersett, who spent some of lockdown walking through the village dressed in an assortment of her favourite princess outfits.
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Little Eva raised more than £1,000 for Anon Street Team Norwich, and Lucas is hoping to emulate her success.
He smashed his initial target of £200 after just five days, and is now just focussed on using the remainder of his challenge to raise as much money as possible for a worthy cause.
Accompanied by his mum, the seven-year-old has been dressing up to walk through the town in the middle of the day.
The timings have changed as Lucas, like all other school-age children, is no longer learning from home, but he has still been able to continue his challenge by walking after school instead.
The highlight of those walks is always a mini photoshoot at the Wymondham Market Cross, after which his mum shares the photos of his latest outfit on social media for all those who are keenly following his progress to see.
Mrs Cooke said: "Lucas is getting around 100 likes on our daily Facebook update through the Wymondham group and is getting so many comments of support from the community.
"Many saying how much they are enjoying seeing him and how much it is making them smile."
Lucas' outfits have varied over the past three weeks. Some characters have been more specific and recognisable, such as Avengers leader Captain America, Dobby the House Elf and Star Wars villain Kylo Ren.
Other have been more generic, like when he dressed as a knight – complete with wooden sword and shield – and his Morris Dancing outfit and routine from day 19 of his challenge.
As well as being a lot of fun for Lucas and putting smiles on the faces of all who happen upon him while out and about in the town, he has also raised far more than he ever imagined at the beginning of his task.
His online fundraiser has managed £600 in donations, but as he has also been collecting change on the street, his true final total remains a mystery.
Mrs Cooke said: "Everyone has been so generous, it’s so lovely how the community are supporting him. Thanks to their generosity we are currently at £600 just through online donations.
"Any cash that is donated we are going to count up at the end so it’s going to be a big surprise to find out how much we have actually got."
To keep tabs on Lucas' challenge, and to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carolinec-rednoseday21.