A big-hearted boy, who has refused birthday presents since he was aged six so the money could be donated to his favourite charity to help hungry kids, has been given a trip of his dreams.
Charlie Doherty, 12, will be able to fulfil a long held wish to travel to Malawi to meet children receiving Mary’s Meals, a charity he has raised over £20,000 for through his amazing fundraising efforts over the years.
Charlie was given the surprise trip as a Christmas present by his mum who announced the news to him when they reached the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales as part of a charity hike for Mary’s Meals.
The Malawi trip has been made a reality thanks to support from Charlie’s family and friends. He will now travel to Africa this month where he will spend his next birthday visiting the school which he supports through the charity’s Sponsor a School campaign.
Commenting on the forthcoming trip, excited Charlie said: “I can’t wait for the trip, it’s going to be amazing and great seeing the message of hope that is passed through Mary’s Meals.
“I also can’t wait to meet the children at the kitchen I have been sponsoring and see the great work of Mary’s Meals in action.”
Charlie sponsors Ipyana Primary School which is located in the northern district of Karonga, Malawi. Thanks to his support, all the 1,429 children at the school receive a daily meal from Mary’s Meals for a whole school year.
The 12-year-old from Crawley has been fundraising for Scottish-based charity Mary’s Meals since he was six. After hearing about the suffering of children in other countries, he asked for money to be donated to Mary’s Meals instead of receiving birthday presents.
He has undertaken a number of fundraising challenges for the charity which includes a 600-mile cycle from Brighton to Scotland with his mum.
Charlie is one of the stars of a new powerful documentary called Child 31, which features the work of Mary’s Meals. In the film, he talks about his fundraising efforts and why he is so motivated to help impoverished children.
Featuring stories about the work of the charity, Child 31 is a captivating watch that focuses on the difference just one meal every school day can make to children living in extreme poverty.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said: “Charlie is an incredible boy and we are extremely grateful for all he has done for us over the years.
“I’m always touched by all the beautiful acts of kindness which so many people like Charlie do to support our work, and which make it possible for us to provide a daily meal to hundreds of thousands of children, living in some of the world’s poorest countries.”