Monday 16 September 2019

Meet the 11-year-old who raised thousands for charity by... busking

Milo McCarthy raised almost €18,000 in just 12 weeks for Syrian refugees

Milo McCarthy
Milo McCarthy

Sean Nolan

A Cork teenager raised almost €18,000 for Syrian refugees through busking after he was struck by the photo of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi's body on a beach in Turkey.

Milo McCarthy was just 11 when he decided to turn his hobby - busking - into a fundraiser for the Irish Red Cross.

The talented youngster, now aged 14, raised a remarkable €17,742 in the space of just 12 weeks by busking on the streets of Cork city and Midleton.

Milo was awarded a Rehab People of the Year award in 2016 for his tremendous act of kindness. His proud father Ronan told how it all came about.

"We had been discussing the Syrian refugee crisis and why it came about at home," Ronan said.

"As a family we had been on holiday with Milo and his younger siblings and we had spent a lot of time on the beach.

Milo McCarthy collects his Rehab People of the Year award
Milo McCarthy collects his Rehab People of the Year award

"When Milo saw the image of the little boy drowned on the beach it rattled him.

"For him, the beach was associated with fun and after seeing that picture he felt strongly he wanted to do something."

Milo had been busking in his home town of Midleton from the age of about eight or nine, so after he saw the image of Aylan Kurdi he started busking twice a week, every week, from September up until the end of the year.

In that short space of time, Milo raised a staggering €17,742.

"On one busk in Midleton he collected over €1,000," Ronan reveals and, while he had set himself an initial target of €10,000, he eventually raised close to €18,000.

Milo's efforts saw him appear on The Ray D'Arcy Show where he sang 'Ireland's Call' but his dad says his son remains very "down-to-earth".

"He's a normal 14-year-old boy (Milo turned 14 last week). He loves his Playstation, he loves catching big fish and he gives guitar lessons now.

"He loves acting too, appearing in school plays at Midleton College where he is a pupil."

Milo is currently taking a break from busking at the minute, but his father expects him to take it up again soon.

"Milo always felt it didn't take much to put in an hour for others," Ronan tells us. "Actions speak louder than words."

Milo McCarthy with Liam Cunningham at Rehab's People of the Year awards
Milo McCarthy with Liam Cunningham at Rehab's People of the Year awards

The People of the Year Awards, organised by Rehab, provide a unique opportunity for the Irish public to honour those who have made a real difference to people's lives, whether as unsung heroes or household names.

Nominations are now open for the People of the Year Awards 2017 and you can nominate your hero here

Deadline for nominations is December 3rd.

Other former winners include comedian Brendan O’Carroll, Olympian Katie Taylor, Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, and Davitt Walsh.

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