‘Remarkable’ schoolgirl uses pocket money to spread kindness
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
“If I can make one person smile a day, then I’ll be happy.”
That is the ethos behind a 13-year-old schoolgirl’s mission to spread a bit of kindness within her local community – and it has not gone unnoticed.
For the past few years, Lily Lancaster-Burdett, of Sorrel Drive, Attleborough, has been carrying out random acts of kindness in her home town.
From leaving flowers and chocolates to gifting vouchers to strangers, purchased using her own pocket money, the inspirational teen has made hundreds of people smile with her thoughtfulness.
And now she has set up a Facebook group – Acts of Kindness – to encourage people to start doing the same.
A pupil at Attleborough Academy, she said: “I have been doing random acts of kindness for a few years and started by leaving a gift for an elderly lady at Christmas who lived alone.
“It made me happy to see her smile and I have been leaving gifts on doorsteps ever since.”
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When the county went into lockdown in March last year, Miss Lancaster-Burdett said she was overwhelmed with sadness and enlisted the help of her nine-year-old brother, Dylan, and friend Ayesha.
“Knowing how I felt, I knew other people would be feeling the same. So, I started making keyrings with kind messages on them, and left them for people to find.
“This lifted people’s spirits and they posted about it on Facebook.”
At Halloween, she used her pocket money to buy sweets to give out to the local children.
She also teamed up with Mrs Beans Bistro, on Church Street, to create five golden tickets to hide in the sweetie bags. The winners received anything from a milkshake to an afternoon.
And just before Christmas, she arranged for Father Christmas to meet children at Queen’s Square in the market town, while she handed out selection boxes with help from friend, Eloise.
“This was by far the best act of kindness I’ve ever done.
“I had so much support from the community and many of them, including some local businesses, donated. We handed out over 500 selection boxes, which I had started to buy with my own money.
“I received a lovely thank-you letter from Norfolk Children's Services and Attleborough fire station, who I also donated to. I also made-up food hampers and gave them to those in need.”
Miss Lancaster-Burdett, who has received a Norfolk Day Hero Award for her charity work and a letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, has received lots of praise from residents on the town’s social media pages.
“I set up the Acts of Kindness group on Facebook at the start of January for two reasons. Firstly, so people can see what I'm doing throughout the year and, secondly, to share their acts of kindness towards others.”
Already she is making plans for Easter and has purchased several chocolate eggs and also received a donation from PDL-Services Ltd.
And as much as she is enjoying spreading and promoting kindness, she said she is looking forward to life after lockdown.
A keen maths student, she added: “I am looking forward to getting back into scuba diving as I want to become an instructor when I'm old enough.
"I am also looking forward to returning to my volunteering at Attleborough Tuesday club, where I work alongside my mum who helps run the club.”
And her advice to others?
“Stay positive, keep smiling, and be kind always. We never know what people are going through and just a few kind words can really make someone's day.”
Miss Lancaster-Burdett lives with her parents Debbie and Peter, sister Olivia, eight, and brother Dylan.
Her mother said they are all “extremely proud” of her.
"Lily is a remarkable young lady who always thinks of others. She has done so many kind acts, even thinking of the local businesses by purchasing gift vouchers and handing them to members of the community.
“She is such an inspiration to many people and we fully support everything she does. She was awarded with a principal commendation, as well as well as other awards, and we couldn't be any prouder of her."
To join the Facebook page, search for Acts of kindness in Facebook groups or visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/410606573479408