An 11-year-old boy has shown he’s an absolute star for raising almost £1,500 to help children with terminal illnesses.
Charlie Lavvaf smashed his fundraising target of £250 by cycling more than 350 miles in a month – the equivalent distance from his Snettisham home to Wales.
Each day after returning home from school at 4.15pm, the determined youngster got on his exercise bike and cycled 10 to 15 miles, which he increased to 20 at the weekend.
Charlie was inspired by his younger sister Evie, 6, who has rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (RCDP), a very rare life-limiting condition.
There is no cure for the condition, which was diagnosed when she was just 20 hours old. Evie has a cleft palate and a hole in her heart.
Due to her very small build, Charlie was able to hold Evie as he cycled his last half mile, so she could be part of his challenge.
“I’ve grown up with Evie and I feel sad I can’t do anything to help her (condition) but I take every chance I can to be with her,” said the Wells Alderman Peel High School pupil.
“But I thought (by raising money) I could help change someone else’s life, to make them feel special.”
The money Charlie has raised has gone to West Norfolk charity Reach For a Star, to help children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses.
Charlie and Evie’s mum Allison Hipkin said she was extremely proud of her son’s efforts.
“He idolises his sister and she turns her head to look at him, they do have a special bond,” she said.
Ms Hipkin said usually she and her partner Pete Lavvaf, the children’s dad, regularly raise money for causes close to their hearts but these have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, Charlie took over the fundraising reins during the November lockdown.
She said: “He ended up going past the 350 mile target and cycled 404 miles. He was tired but he was committed to it.”
Treasurer of the charity, Gary Clark, said 2020 had been a very difficult year for Reach For a Star, and its income dropped from around £20,000 to almost zero after many fundraising events were cancelled.
“We were therefore really grateful when we were contacted by Allison Hipkin to let us know that her son Charlie was keen to do a sponsored bike ride to raise £250 for us. Charlie did much better than he first thought and we were overwhelmed by his final total of £1,477,” he said.
“We were contacted by a family asking for help to buy a trike just after Christmas and, had Charlie not have raised this money for us, we would have had to have thought twice about whether we could help the family, but this has given us the boost we needed to continue to help local families.”