Youngster raises £70,000 for Haiti
Published 25/01/2010 | 06:58
A seven-year-old boy has raised more than £70,000 to help survivors of the Haitian earthquake after seeing images of children being pulled alive from the rubble.
Charlie Simpson was so upset by the devastation wrought by the earthquake that he told his mother he wanted to do anything he could to help.
The boy set out to raise £500 for Unicef's Haiti appeal by riding his bike five miles around his local park - but the schoolboy's efforts inspired hundreds of people online who donated a total of more than £60,000 in just one day.
Charlie, from Fulham, west London, said: "I just think it was quite sad when I saw the pictures on the TV."
He asked his mother Leonora to help him create a sponsorship form and added: "We sent it out on to the web and it just went everywhere."
Mrs Simpson said: "He was really upset when he saw the pictures on the television and it was great to see him get motivated behind something as important as this and do something about it."
Asked how he first got the idea after seeing the images from Haiti, she said: "He actually burst into tears. He just sat on my lap, then we had about a chat about the things he could do, and how he could go about it. He decided to do the cycle ride and he made me do a sponsorship form for him and that was it. It suddenly took off."
Mrs Simpson added: "He really felt strongly about this and thought that something had to be done. 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."
All the donations from his JustGiving website will go to Unicef, which is leading emergency relief clusters on water, sanitation, education and nutrition as well as supporting child protection.
Michael Newsome, the charity's Haiti Appeal director, said: "Charlie's done this all by himself. It's always heartwarming when any child starts to respond and there's something quiet special about a child in the UK reaching out to the children of Haiti."