THE sky’s the limit for an award-winning young fundraiser, as he sets himself a new one a month series of year-long challenges - starting last Sunday with climbing up and abseiling down the Clifton Gorge cliff face. 

Dante Valaydon-Pillay, 12, who attends St John’s on the Hill in Tutshill, was crowned  the Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year 2022 after handing over £1,500 to Children In Need.

The schoolboy was inspired to raise money after experiencing the trauma of seeing mum Frances struck down by a series of strokes when he was only six. 

During her three months in hospital, Dante was cared for by kind family and friends at home. And when his mum returned home, she still needed 24-hour care, but again friends and family rallied around to provid the help they both needed. 

But as he got older Dante came to realise he was one of the lucky ones – a child in need but with great support around him to meet those needs. 

He knows that not all children are as fortunate and there are many children in need. 

And because of his own experience, he decided to raise money for Children in Need as he wanted to make their lives just a little bit better.

Last Sunday he began a series of 12 monthly challenges, completing a 210ft climb and 90ft abseil down the Clifton Gorge beside the River Avon,. 

It was the first time Dante has rock climbed outdoors, though he had done several ‘clip and climbs’ in indoor venues. 

The intrepid youngster arrived at the foot of the gorge on a sunny, clear day which was perfect for climbing. 

But having seen the rock face from the safety of the car, standing close up at the base, he wondered if it was “too high”. 

Luckily, Kevin Roet, the instructor from Rise and Summit was there to allay any fears and Dante set off confident and excited. And after a 90-minute climb, he reached the top and gave a jubilant wave to a small group of family and tourists down below who gave a big clap and cheer. 

After a short break at the top Kevin re-roped Dante and he set off on his 90ft descent. 

“Leaning back over the edge was so scary because it was so high,” admitted Dante.

“Everything looked like dots below! I took a deep breath, listened to Kevin’s instructions and trusted the ropes. Then I started to enjoy it.” 

After completing his challenge he said, “That was brilliant. I can’t believe I climbed all the way up there! Now I’m looking forward to the next 11 challenges now.” 

Kevin said, “He is an incredibly confident young man, and should be very proud of his achievement. Although I could see he was feeling slightly anxious at the start of the day, he stuck with it and achieved an incredible feat.”

Dante now has 11 more months of challenges, completing a new one every month. 

They will be diverse with everything from singing the Welsh National Anthem at a sporting event to baking cakes for the elderly at Christmas, camping in a tent for a month to a 5k run and canoeing the Wye.

Once again Mountain Warehouse are sponsoring him. 

Company founder and owner Mark Neale, an Old Monmothian, said: “We’d love to work with you again.”

He was invited into the Abergavenny branch on Saturday and Kyle Edwards the manager advised him on the best kit to use for his forthcoming challenges and presented him with various Mountain Warehouse items.

Dante has also set up a JustGiving page and donations are already starting to trickle in. 

He has also had support for his forthcoming efforts on his Instagram page by several people including Alain Roberts, the world-famous French solo climber who is known as “the French Spider-Man” or “the Human Spider, who wrote: “So cool what you are doing by challenging yourself to raise some money for charity. It is very meaningful.”

Dante said, “My next challenge is a 5k run next month. I hope I can complete it!” 

He hopes that by doing his 12 month charity challenge he can again raise more money and make a difference to the lives of other children.

To sponsor his fundraiser - ‘The Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year - 12 Month Charity Challenge’ –go to