A 12-YEAR-old boy has raised more than £255k to support children and families in Ukraine, after almost 14,000 people entered a raffle to win a one-off wooden bowl made by the young star.
Donations tripled after celebrities, including JK Rowling, Stephen Fry, Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman and Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs, tweeted their support for the young woodwork prodigy.
Gabriel Clark, who lives in the Lakes with his TV director dad Richard Clark and artist mum Teresa Clark, first went viral after a quarter of a million people responded to a plea from his dad for people to follow his son’s woodwork Instagram account to boost his following of just six.
Other celebrities who have shown their support for the young star include YouTuber and author Joe Sugg, iconic singer Cher and Radio 1 DJs Zoe Ball and Gregg James.
Gabriel had originally planned to sell his wooden bowls to fund a new mountain bike, but after his Dad’s tweet led to hundreds of thousands of new followers, he decided to use his new-found Instagram fame for good, carving a beautiful wooden bowl etched with a blue and yellow ring (the colours of the Ukraine flag) to raise funds for Save the Children’s Ukraine appeal.
Gabriel said: “I’m absolutely blown away by the level of support that my bowl and I have received. I originally hoped to raise £5,000 so this is just mad! I haven’t even told people at school yet!
“I really hope that everyone’s generosity can help children in Ukraine. What I’ve seen on the news is so sad, but I hope that the money can help Save the Children to provide more support to kids who’ve been impacted by the conflict with things like food, water and a safe place to sleep.”
Dad Richard, who has directed TV shows including Doctor Who, Outlander and War of the Worlds, said: “This has just been an extraordinary story of hope, joy and kindness. I never imagined that my tweet would turn into this amazing thing – I just wanted to help get Gabriel a few more followers and somehow, it’s resulted in people donating almost £250,000 to help children in Ukraine, it’s just incredible! Children’s lives will be made better because of this and that’s no small thing.”
The draw for Gabriel’s Bowl for Ukraine closed on Easter Sunday and the bowl will be sent to Renuka Chapman from London.
Renuka said: “I was so moved when I saw the original tweet from Gabriel’s dad that I just had to follow his Instagram account. When Gabriel then launched his fundraiser for Ukraine, I immediately wanted to donate and encouraged all my family and friends to do the same.
“Gabriel’s compassion is so moving and the amount of money he’s raised for Save the Children’s work in Ukraine is an incredible achievement for a 12-year-old.
“When he rang me to let me know I’d won the bowl, I was completely overwhelmed – I’ve never won a single thing before!
“This bowl will be one of my most treasured possessions. It represents hope, compassion and kindness – I’m not sure where it will live yet but it will always have a pride of place in my home.”
Lisa Aubrey, Head of Regional Fundraising and Engagement, at Save the Children said: “We are incredibly grateful for Gabriel’s support and everyone who’s entered the draw for his beautifully carved wooden bowl.
“The money raised can go a long way to helping support some of the 7.5 million children who are caught in the middle of this war.
“Thanks to Gabriel and so many other young fundraisers, we’ll be able to support families in Ukraine and those at the borders with things like food, water and psychosocial support.”
If you would like to read more about Gabriel’s Bowl for Ukraine and support his fundraising, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bowlforukraine For more information on Save the Children, visit www.savethechildren.org.uk