Monday, January 25, 2010

Boy, 7, raises $113k for Haiti

LONDON - A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD British boy told on Sunday how he raised more than 50,000 pounds (S$113,000) in a day for survivors of the Haiti earthquake by doing a sponsored bike ride.

Charlie Simpson set out to collect just 500 pounds for a UN Children's Fund (Unicef) appeal by cycling five miles (eight kilometres) around his local park in London - but his efforts inspired hundreds of people to donate online.

He started his fundraising efforts after seeing shocking images of children being pulled alive from the rubble in the Caribbean nation. 'I just think it was quite sad when I saw the pictures on the TV,' said the youngster.

His mother, Leonora, helped him create a sponsorship form and said the document quickly spread around the Internet and the enormous sum was donated in one day. 'He really felt strongly about this and thought that something had to be done,' she said. 'But what started off as a little cycle round the park with his dad has turned into something a lot bigger than that and we can't believe it.

'I am extremely proud of our Charlie, he's done really well. He's worked hard and he's raised a phenomenal amount of money so we couldn't ask for anything more.' Donations from his JustGiving website go to Unicef, which is leading emergency relief efforts on water, sanitation, education and nutrition as well as supporting child protection.

Unicef said it was the first time anyone had collected 50,000 pounds in one day for the fund and the money would make 'a huge difference'. 'It's always heartwarming when any child starts to respond and there's something quite special about a child in the UK reaching out to the children of Haiti,' said spokesman Michael Newsome. -- AFP

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