Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big-hearted British schoolboy, 7, raises more than £100,000 for Haiti... slightly over his £500 target

Two Atomic Zombie thumbs up to Charlie and his big heart! We made a donation on behalf of our AZ Krew.

Cheers from your biking friends at AtomicZombie.com. Thanks for inspiring all of us, Charlie. You are a very special person in this world.
Donation by KoolKat and Radical Brad

A seven-year-old boy has raised more than £100,000 to help survivors of the Haitian earthquake after being moved by 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.

He 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 £50,000 in just one day.

He has so far amassed £107,000, but that figure is increasing by the hour.

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.'

Charlie's efforts came as celebrities in the U.S. took part in the Hope for Haiti Now telethon. Stars including Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Bruce Springsteen manned the phones to raise a total of $57million (£35m) for the devastated country.

Aid agencies believe up to 200,000 people people died when the 7.0 quake hit just before 5pm local time on Tuesday, 12 January - but a man was miraculously pulled from the rubble yesterday after being trapped for 11 days.

The British public have so far donated £42m to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) fund.

'We're receiving several million more each day,' said a spokesman today.

All the donations from Charlie's 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.

'Children in Haiti are by far the most vulnerable in a situation like this.

'It's quite fabulous when a child like Charlie, and all of the other children who are sponsoring him and doing things, are saying they want to get involved and make a difference.'

A Unicef spokeswoman added that the one idea had snowballed to make 'a huge difference'.

'He's helping to provide water to hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti,' she said.

'We're all overwhelmed with the response to Charlie's bike ride. We've never known anything like it.

'We've never had anyone raise £50,000 in one day for us before.

'Charlie himself is just a wonderful boy, kind and generous, and really shows the nation how easy it is to help.'

* Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/CharlieSimpson-HAITI