A Dean Close St John’s school pupil who lives near Raglan has become the first young person to win a prestigious Children in Need award.

Dante Valaydon-Pillay has won The Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year Award from BBC Children in Need.

Dante with his award
Dante with his award (Mrs Valaydon-Pillay)

He was shortlisted from thousands by Children in Need after he raised over £1,500 by climbing the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain on the edge of the Brecon Beacons every day for five days, taking nearly 40,000 steps and completed 17 miles during his charity hike!

Ed Jackson the former Rugby Union player accompanied him on the first day and Mountain Warehouse sponsored his kit. He was inspired to raise money for Children in Need after his mother suffered a series of devastating strokes in 2017 and was in hospital for three months and then tragically his Grandma passed away from cancer at the same time.

Knowing others are still less fortunate, he decided to set himself a charity challenge to hike up the Sugarloaf, not just once but five times!

Dante said, “A challenge is not a challenge if its easy, so I decided to think of something just a little more difficult.” He went on to say “I can see the Sugarloaf from my bedroom window and thought.... I’m going to climb that.”

He was interviewed by Michael Ball on his Sunday Children in Need Special where he chatted to all of the shortlisted nominees and following this he went on to talk to BBC Radio Wales about his challenge. He appeared live in the Blue Peter studio in Salford, Manchester, where they revealed the winner of The Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of 2022 was Dante. On stage he met Joel and Richie, two of the Blue Peter hosts and Jo Wicks also known as The Body Coach presented Dante with a silver Pudsey trophy.

Later that evening he was was whisked off to the glittering, showbiz filming of Children in Need in Salford, Manchester.

Dante said, “I have had an amazing time. I never thought that I would ever win an award, I only wanted to raise money for Children in Need. The other nominees were brilliant and I never dreamed that I would win! I want to thank all who donated and nominated me.