After seeing news reports about the Haiti earthquake on the television, seven-year-old Charlie Simpson decided to complete a sponsored bike ride around his local park in Fulham, south-west London, to raise money for UNICEF’s Haiti Earthquake Children’s Appeal.On his Justgiving page, Charlie explained: “I want to do a Sponsored Bike Ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives. I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti.”
Charlie planned to cycle around South Park seven times, a distance of approximately five miles, with the aim of raising £500. Charlie completed his challenge on Sunday 24 January. By then word of his cycle challenge was spreading and donations were pouring in, smashing his original target. Charlie’s mother, Leonora Simpson, said: “He’s done really well. He’s worked hard and he’s raised a phenomenal amount of money. He really felt strongly about this and thought that something had to be done. It was great to see him so motivated. I am extremely proud of our Charlie.”
Charlie’s sister Alice, aged six, sold home-baked cookies to boost Charlie’s fundraising total.Funds raised by Charlie and his family will help UNICEF to deliver life-saving supplies to provide food, water, medical care and protection to children in Haiti. By the day after his sponsored cycle ride, Charlie had already raised £100,000 to help children affected by the Haiti earthquake. “I saw the pictures [of Haiti] on the TV and I didn’t think it was quite nice,” said Charley. “Our aim was £500, but it’s gone mad.”
“Thank you for all the money you have given me,” Charlie said in a message to his supporters. “You have been so kind; it will help people get a tent or some water kits and some food. My legs aren’t too achy. Love from Charlie Simpson.” Why not check out UNICEF’s current projects and find out how you can get involved.
© UNICEF UK/2010/Catriona Nunn
“It was very fun going to the Prime Minister’s house and meeting Sarah Brown,” Charlie said, “I cycled my bike down Downing Street and even a bit inside! I liked talking to the boys about riding our bikes.”
By Tuesday 27 January, Charlie’s fundraising total stood at over £200,000. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah, heard about his fantastic achievement and invited Charlie and his family to Downing Street. Sarah Brown congratulated Charlie on his fundraising efforts and gave the family a tour of Number 10.
© Richard Lewis