Archie, 12, 'overwhelmed' by donations to give Ukrainian children toys

Archie Ruskin, 12, set up a fundraising page to raise funds to buy toys for the children of Ukraine.

Archie Ruskin, 12, set up a fundraising page to raise funds to buy toys for the children of Ukraine. - Credit: Claire Ruskin-Walton

A determined 12-year-old Norfolk boy who was moved by the war in Ukraine and the impact it is having on the country's children has been 'overwhelmed' by donations to help buy them toys.

Archie Ruskin, from Hilgay, near Downham Market, became concerned after watching scenes of the conflict unfold on the news last week and imaging the devastation it would cause young children and their families to flee with "only the belonging on their backs".

He felt compelled to do something to help after wondering how he or his six-year-old brother Noah would feel if they were forced to leave their home and comforts.

The Downham Market Academy student set up a JustGiving page last Thursday to help provide young children with toys to make them "smile again".

The 12-year-old has been spreading the word at school, at his Air Cadets group and on social media and has since said he is "shocked beyond his dreams" to have raised more than £1,000 so far.

Archie Ruskin, from Hilgay, has raised more than £1,000 to buy toys for children in Ukraine.

Archie Ruskin, from Hilgay, has raised more than £1,000 to buy toys for children in Ukraine. - Credit: Claire Ruskin-Walton

He had initially set out to raise £200 but smashed his target in just 24 hours. 

Archie now hopes to create around 500 shoe boxes filled with toys, colouring books, chocolate and sweets for the children of Ukraine.

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He said: "My friends were happy I was doing something for Ukraine.

"I feel overwhelmed, joy and it makes me happy that I'm going to do something nice for people in Ukraine."

His mum Claire Ruskin-Walton said she is "immensely proud" of her son for coming up with an idea to "bring smiles to these children".

She said: "When he got over £900 I was in Sainsbury's in Ely and screamed in excitement.

"I have never felt this proud feeling, it's overwhelming."

Archie Ruskin, from Hilgay, said he feels overwhelmed and happy to be helping the children in Ukraine.

Archie Ruskin, from Hilgay, said he feels overwhelmed and happy to be helping the children in Ukraine. - Credit: Claire Ruskin-Walton

His grandparents Adrian and Gill Ruskin said they are full of admiration for Archie's actions, adding that he has shown "real empathy for those who are struggling".

The 12-year-old has also been recognised by his school for his efforts and has received a gold certificate award.

The family have been buying items and will take them to St Olga's Church in Peterborough to put them into shoe boxes. The church will then organise for them to be transported to Ukraine.

To donate visit Archie's JustGiving page here.