A Test Valley borough councillor is attempting to walk almost 70 miles to raise money for a local boy with severe epilepsy.

Iris Andersen, Councillor for St Mary’s, has set herself the challenge of walking 200 laps of Andover Cricket Club’s ground to raise money for Toby Pearce.

Since starting last week, the 73-year old Councillor has already walked 70 laps of the pitch. With three laps of the pitch being a mile in length, this means she’s already covered 23 miles.

Speaking about her walk, Iris said “It’s an honour to do this for Toby. It’s a great challenge to do, and I feel so much for the family.”

Her campaign was spurred on by the efforts of Sir Tom Moore, who raised almost £33 million for the NHS. Despite suffering an ulcerated leg in the past 18 months, she’s not going to let it stop her.

“It’s a challenge, believe me, I’m not as old as Sir Tom Moore but it’s a challenge.”

Every day, Iris heads out at 7am to do four laps in the morning, before heading back to work. In the evening, she looks to do another three, putting another 2.3 miles under her belt.

She raised £70 over the weekend, and received a boost on Tuesday 4 when local business Canto Gelato contacted her to say they would donate £250 to her cause, along with a £50 voucher.

Canto Gelato's owners, Steve and Kelly Jones, told The Advertiser that they like to give to good causes, especially if they help children.

"Iris has always helped us out, so it's the least we can do," they said.

Despite her flying start, Iris is looking to add even more to Toby’s fundraising target in the coming weeks to reach the £10,000 goal required for an adult wheelchair.

“I’m interested in getting out there and raising awareness,” Iris said, “as everything in fundraising has come to a halt due to COVID-19.”

“Times are very hard for everybody, but all donations are good.”

Iris has been supporting Toby for many years, and her latest efforts were described as “humbling” by his family.

“Iris has always been a huge supporter of Toby and always goes out of her way to raise money for him,” said Toby’s mum Gemma. “To do this in her own time means so much to us. As much as Iris has helped us, she’s not family, but for someone to want to help Toby anyway is overwhelming.”

Gemma is hoping to bring Toby to visit Iris in the next couple of weeks so that they can cheer her on.

“I have to be extra careful with Toby at the moment,” she says, “but I would absolutely love for Toby to see something being done for him. Let her know how much we appreciate what she’s doing.”

Iris is already looking at how to extend her target. “I’m not going to stop at 200,” she says. “I will carry on with this challenge as long as I can do it, and I’ve got a blister on my foot to prove I’ve been doing it.”

Anyone who wishes to contribute money to Toby’s fundraising campaign can click here to head to the fundraising page