A pint-size hero who requested donations for Help for Heroes in place of birthday presents has received a very special thank you.
Alfie McAnespie from Colchester has been fundraising for the military charity since he was a toddler when he completed a one-mile walk unaided.
For his ninth birthday this week, he decided that he would ask for donations in place of gifts. Family and friends answered his call by giving over £200 in total.
Alfie’s latest challenge will see him climb Mount Snowdon this summer with an aim of raising £6,000.
Alfie was inspired by John Prosser, who is a Veteran Para Alfie met. John shared Alfie's efforts with his fellow Invictus Games competitors in Orlando in May.
Details of Alfie’s efforts were shared by John among fellow Invictus Games competitors in Orlando in May.
Army veteran and Help for Heroes ambassador Chris Jones, from Devon, who is supported by the charity’s Plymouth Recovery Centre, was particularly touched by the young fundraiser’s dedication and wanted to do something in return. Chris found out that Alfie was particularly taken by his painting of a wave on display at Tedworth House Recovery Centre after seeing it on a TV documentary about the Invictus Games. The wave identifies the psychological journey that Chris has been on since being injured.
Chris decided it would be a nice gesture to give Alfie the painting to keep and made contact with Alfie’s mum Anja to arrange the surprise. On Saturday Chris attended Alfie’s birthday party in Colchester to present the Montgomery Junior School pupil with the gift.
Chris said: “When I found out that Alfie was asking for donations instead of gifts for his birthday I was touched. Every nine year old deserves a present and he liked the painting so I thought it would be a nice gesture.
“Alfie’s such a lovely kid, he kept shaking my hand and saying thank you. He’s already setting bigger goals and thinking about his next fundraising task.
“When you’ve got a kid who’s passionate about something it’s only right to encourage it. Hopefully every time Alfie sees my painting it will give him the motivation to carry on fundraising. If he’s achieving so much as a child who knows what he’ll do in the future and we need that support to keep rebuilding lives.”
Alfie commented: “After being at Tedworth House having a presentation I thought what the charity has done for people like Chris is extraordinary to help injured servicemen to get back into public life. I felt inspired to raise more money for Help for Heroes.”
Alfie lives within a stone’s throw of Chavasse VC House Recovery Centre in Colchester and his dad Lee is a 3 Para Officer so he has a big understanding of military life and how Help for Heroes provides support.
Mum Anja added: “We had a wonderful, amazing, emotional visit from Chris. Alfie was very emotional meeting Chris; he could not believe it was actually him. Alfie is so committed to raising money, he really wants to meet his target climbing Snowdon.”
What Chris did not expect was a surprise in return. Alfie’s school class had painted their own versions of the wave painting so in place of his own artwork Chris now has 30 replicas.
Chris added: “It was lovely to receive their paintings. It was a really nice thing to do.”
Click here to find out more about Alfie’s Snowdon challenge and help him meet his fundraising goal visit or follow him on Twitter @_pintsizehero