A MAN with cerebral palsy who set out to raise £500 for charity has now drummed up nearly £15,000.

As reported by the Packet, Gabe Judge, 21, from Illogan, had planned to walk .26 miles down his road at the weekend to raise cash for disability equality charity Scope.

However, news of his plans spread, gaining coverage on Sky News and BBC News, sending his fundraising page through the roof.

The initial target of £500 was smashed and, at the time of writing, Gabe, who also has autism and is blind, is nearly at a whopping £15,000.

And, because the community and the media have been giving him so much support, Gabe is now planning to do a huge 2.6 miles on alternate days, with the first extra day tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19.

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Gabe's dad, Simon, said that Gabe’s physical strength in his legs had hugely improved through the training for the walk, which is why he feels he can continue to do more.

He also said that his mental health had been greatly improved, and in turn that of his family.

Scope has had to close its 207 shops during lockdown and since then staff, friends and families have been finding ingenious ways to raise money.

Gabe’s mum is the shop manager for Scope in Camborne and Gabe is the mascot for all shops in the area.

Scope said that customers, volunteers and staff had all "fallen in love" with Gabe and his mischievous sense of humour.

Mum Debbie has worked for Scope for six years.

She said: "Back when Gabe was first getting his diagnoses, the doctors were very negative, telling us what he wouldn't be able to do. But him taking on this challenge is a testament to the determination and independence he shows every day.

“Gabe is non-verbal and communicates through sign. He's excited to take on the challenge to support an organisation that feels really represents him.

"This really is Gabe's endeavour, and we're excited to support him to do it."

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Speaking before the challenge began, dad Simon added: "This challenge is a tough one for Gabe, but he's always been determined. We give him as much independence as we can, and his walker really helps him with that.

"Since he got his walker from the college he's been practising a lot, doing short walks to build up to the challenge. We stay on hand to correct his course if he isn't going straight, but he's doing it all under his own steam.

“We’ve been telling our friends and neighbours about the .26 walk and we’re all looking forward to cheering Gabe on this weekend.”

Andrew Boswell, divisional manager at Scope, said: “Like many charities Scope is facing a catastrophic drop in income. We’ve shut our 207 shops, our street fundraising is paused, and events have been cancelled.

“Scope usually has a monthly income just over £3million a month and has seen that fall 60 per cent in March, but the charity’s services are needed now more than ever.

“We are so proud of our dedicated retail teams who have been doing amazing fundraising events at home during this difficult time to help us continue our vital work supporting disabled people.

“The .26 walk Gabe Judge has set himself really stands out. We all know how hard this will be for Gabe and send him our thanks and wishes for his incredible support this coming weekend.”

Gabe was born eight weeks prematurely, with four limb Cerebral Palsy, and is registered blind. He also has autism and takes medication to manage epilepsy.

He uses his walker to get around when he's at college, but typically only for short distances, so walking more than a quarter of a mile is a real challenge for him.

To donate and leave a message for Gabe, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gabe-judge26