Malachi Priest and Captain Tom’s 100 Challenge

by Murray Hamilton

A family playing a video game together

When 12-year-old Malachi Priest of Nottingham 1st Ward heard about the Captain Tom Moore’s 100 Challenge, he was very keen to take part. Malachi’s school, the Priory Ruskin Academy, had encouraged pupils to do a sponsored activity one hundred times and donate the money to the St Barnabas Hospice Trust, that supports people across Lincolnshire.

Malachi has enjoyed dancing from an early age and with the suggestion of his mother, Elaine, he excitedly decided that his fundraising activity would be 100 video dance games. He did four sets of 25 dances over three days, taking five hours 28 minutes and 21 seconds to complete. He said he felt exhausted after each session but, thinking of being able to help others and the encouraging support from his family, helped him carry on. Malachi’s four older siblings Rebekah, Rachael, Joseph, and Ethan supported him by taking turns to dance along with him in some of the sessions. This inspired Malachi to finish and raise over £1,000 in sponsorship.

Malachi’s charitable work caught the attention of the local media. A picture and report appeared in the local newspaper, The Grantham Journal. The local radio station, Radio Lincolnshire, interviewed Malachi and his mother. Malachi also appeared on two television news programmes: ITV Central News, and ‘Make a Difference’ on BBC East Midland News.

Some of the comments made to the local media by Malachi included: “I will be celebrating the extraordinary spirit of Captain Tom my way and help my chosen charity. Please donate to help me reach my goal, or even go beyond” and 'Thank you everyone who has supported me. I did it! I followed in Captain Tom’s footsteps and danced my way down the path. I danced 100 dances from Just Dance 2021 (animated dances for downloading on electronic games ‘boxes’).”

Elaine said: “He absolutely loves dancing. It’s lovely. He’s such a kind boy, he always has been.” After he completed the challenge, she added: “Malachi feels great. I asked him when he finished if he still enjoyed dancing? Bless him, He smiled a great big smile and replied, ‘Yes, I still love dancing.’” (Grantham Journal, 6 May 2021)

On Malachi’s fundraising site he gave the reason he wanted to participate and do the 100 dances, “Because I love dancing, and being kind.”