Seven-year-old raises £100,000 for Haiti in sponsored bike ride

Monday, January 25, 2010

A seven-year-old boy from London, England, has raised more than £100,000 (about US$161,000) on a sponsored bike-ride for victims of the Haiti earthquake, shattering his target of £500 (approximately $800). Yesterday, Charlie Simpson cycled seven laps of a park near his home in Fulham (about five miles, or eight kilometres) to raise money for Unicef's Haiti Earthquake Children's Appeal.

On his JustGiving fundraising page, Charlie wrote "I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti." He said that he was "quite sad when I saw the pictures on the TV." His mother, Leonora, said, "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." Donors worldwide have left messages of support as well as pledges of aid, as a result of international media coverage increasing the profile of his ride.

The UK executive director of Unicef, David Bull, said "This is a very bold and innovative gesture by Charlie that shows he connects with and not only understands what children his own age must be going through in Haiti, but is also wise enough to know that he can help them". He thanked Charlie on behalf of children in Haiti for what he had done. Michael Newsome from Unicef described what Charlie had done as "fabulous", adding, "There is something quite special about a child in the UK reaching out to the children of Haiti."

Charlie will visit UNICEF's offices later today, when he will be thanked in person and told how much he has raised – Unicef officials did not want to disrupt his normal school routine this morning.