I always keep an eye open for an uplifting story at this time of year and I couldn’t do better than this one about the generosity of young Paddy Cotton as related in this week’s County Press.
GUESTS of the Isle of Wight Bus Shelter were shocked by the generosity of nine-year-old Paddy Cotton, of Ryde, who spent his Christmas money on Coal for the shelter’s multi-fuel burner. Paddy’s kind gesture sparked a social media campaign, urging people to buy coal for the homeless shelter, to see it through the Winter.
The Oakfield Primary School pupil was inspired to spend the remainder of his Christmas money on coal, rather than have more presents, when he saw a homeless man in Newport and noticed someone stop to buy the man a coffee.
Paddy said: “It made me really upset and shocked. I didn’t know there were homeless people on the IW. I was inspired by the person who stopped to help him. I saw that and it made me think about what I could do to help.”
He asked his mum, Katherine Cotton, to contact the IW Bus Shelter, a converted bus that currently accommodates 15 homeless people, and she was told the shelter needed coal. After he had spent the rest of his own money on coal, he asked his mum to start a Facebook campaign encouraging others to do the same.
Katherine said: “It was overwhelming how many people got in touch. I am so proud of Paddy. I think he has realised that just by doing a small thing to raise awareness, people on the Island really get together to support the community.”
Kevin Newton, who runs the Bus Shelter, said: “I am amazed at what Paddy has done. It is good to know there are children out there like Paddy who are thinking about homeless people at Christmas time.”
“Our guests couldn’t wait to meet Paddy,” Kevin said, “they just can’t believe a child has done that for them.”
• Anyone can buy coal for the Bus Shelter from Windmill Farm, in Upton Road, Ryde. The farm will store the coal until it is collected by the Bus Shelter and they are doing a special price of £8.40 a bag if it is being donated.
Each bag lasts two days at the Bus Shelter, which is also looking for volunteers to help out.