September 16 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 13, 2014
He’s a little boy with a heart of gold whose kindness has touched the hearts of a church community that had its hall devastated by fire.
Six-year-old Harley Edmonds was saving up to buy a hamster, but when he saw what had happened at St Anne, Earlham, the thoughtful youngster decided to donate some of his funds to help fix the church hall’s roof instead.
He set about making a special card with a special message for the church and taped £1 from his savings inside.
“I wanted to help because I felt really sad about the fire and the roof,” said the Recreation Road Infant School pupil.
And yesterday, the generous schoolboy was given a special surprise when the Evening News teamed up with Jollyes pet store to present Harley with his very own hamster.
Adam Hinchley, manager of Jollyes pet store in Sweet Briar Retail Park, said: “When we found out how generous Harley was we wanted to do something nice to be generous to him. The least we could do was give him a happy little hamster to take care of.”
Harley was delighted with his new pet, a nine-week old white and grey Syrian hamster. He said he was going to have a think about a name but possibly call his hamster Luigi.
Harley’s mother Clare Edmonds, 29, said she was so proud of her little boy for his lovely gift to the church which was all his own idea.
“It really touched me what he did. I just thought the card was such a lovely little thing to do,” said Miss Edmonds.
“He is always thinking about others. He’s a really kind-hearted boy and very thoughtful.”
Miss Edmonds, who lives in Bowthorpe Road, said she and Harley often walk past the church because she is a carer for her mum Carol who lives in Colman Road.
“We saw three fire engines outside there and Harley asked me what had happened, and from there every time we walked past Harley would ask what was happening. He’s been to a couple of parties in the hall so he knew what was in there.”
Harley delivered his card – in which he wrote “Here is £1 for your new roof. Don’t worry everything will be OK” – to the church on Saturday, March 1 when he gave it to church member Vivienne Betts who described Harley’s donation as “a very special gift”.
The Rev Clare Dowding, the vicar of St Anne, Earlham, said the congregation had been really touched by Harley’s generosity.
“There were a few tears in people’s eyes on the Sunday morning when they read his words. A very simple and generous gift can mean so much.”
Now Harley is holding collections and planning fundraisers at his school.
Recreation Road Infant School deputy headteacher Michael Bunting said: “It’s fantastic to celebrate Harley making a difference.
“It really shows how small deeds can make a positive impact.”
Mrs Dowding, who is visiting Harley’s school today, added: “It’s just lovely how Harley has taken it on as his new challenge to support the church hall, and it means a great deal to the community here that local people, especially children, can respond so generously.”
The interior of the Colman Road church’s hall and most of its contents were destroyed in the blaze which took place on February 17 when the hall was broken into and the fire was started inside. Two boys aged 13 and 15 have been arrested, questioned, and bailed until April 15 while police inquiries continue.
Have you got a story? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772248.