Family's Easter challenges raise more than £1,500 for Chichester homeless charity - 'Everyday I walk past a homeless person and I think they don’t deserve this'
"Instead of giving the homeless an Easter egg, I wanted to give them a home — everyday I walk past a homeless person and I think they don’t deserve this."
That was the powerful message from a 10-year-old boy in Bosham who has raised nearly £1,600 for homeless charity Stonepillow.
With his mum, Alison, and nine-year-old sister, Pippi, Charlie Totman spent the Easter holidays completing 14 daily challenges.
These included a three-and-a-half hour, seven mile, barefoot beach walk in the Witterings; a 20k cycle; a three-hour dance-off; a two-hour busking session; a six-hour board game marathon; a 100 lap obstacle course and they also spent a night sleeping on the floor. They finished with another ten-mile walk, joined by friends in the community.
Primary school teacher Alison said: “We had a discussion about how we could put ourselves in the shoes of people who don’t have as much as we do. All the challenges were linked to how people might feel.
"We set up a JustGiving page and we were hoping to raise £150. Before we even started doing the challenges, they exceeded that total.
"They [Charlie and Pippa] thought it all through themselves and Stonepillow put a poster together for us.
"As the challenges went on, people donated more and more. We completed them all. They absolutely loved it and learned loads. It's been a really good experience for them."
Alison said she was 'totally blown away' by the huge amount of money raised, adding: "It was really nice for them to feel a sense of achievement after doing something quite tough at times.
"The idea was totally Charlie's, with only a little bit of guidance from me. He really feels the injustice of people not being able to have a home and feel safe and comfortable.
"We are very privileged. We are very lucky to have a house and there are people out there who have found lockdown a lot tougher than we have.
"For a nearly 11-year-old, it's challenging to understand how people get to a point where they have to live like that. He wanted to do anything he could to make sure that he could help in some way.
"He was just thinking about how lonely lockdown would be for them. In this day and age, there shouldn't be people living on the street."
Proud mum Alison said her children 'just got on and did it with enthusiasm', adding: "What surprised me is there wasn't a grumble from them any day."
Charlie wrote a review about his fundraising efforts, in which he thanked 'everybody who sponsored us and the people who helped us with our challenges'.
He added: "I have had so much fun doing all of these challenges and I'm really happy that my sister and I raised over £1,500.
"I was really passionate about homeless people because I walk past them everyday and I feel really sad.
"I decided to do these challenges because I wanted to know what it would be like to be homeless and what they would face everyday. I did a lot of my challenges and did them towards what a homeless man or woman would face in a day.
"They need a home, they need food and most of all they need a friend and I want to be that friend.
"Overall it was an amazing thing to do, I feel so happy and I want to do it again. I think I might have helped so many people."
If you would like to donate, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charlietotman