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  • Southside

Firhouse girl raises over €1,000 for families in need

Friday, 22nd December, 2017 6:00pm
Firhouse girl raises over €1,000 for families in need

Ayla Walsh O’Neill is helping other kids this Christmas.

Firhouse girl raises over €1,000 for families in need

Ayla Walsh O’Neill is helping other kids this Christmas.

Rachel Farrell

A seven-year-old girl from Firhouse has raised over €1,000 in three days for families in need this Christmas.

When Ayla Walsh O’Neill told her mother Doireann she wanted to give something back this Christmas by giving computer tablets to less fortunate children, she didn’t realise the impact it would have online.

On the night of The Late Late Toy Show, Doireann uploaded a letter Ayla had written about her plans to pick out presents for children’s charity Barnardos to her Facebook page.

“My mammy told me that Christmas is a time of year when people remember to be kind, and now that I’m in on the secret, I can help too,” Ayla wrote.

After posting the letter for her friends to see, what happened next came as a surprise to Doireann.

“People started sharing it, and people I don’t know asked me for my Paypal,” she revealed.

“I had friends from different counties saying ‘here, give her a tenner from me’.

“I then put up the Barnardos link and I think quite a good few people donated through there first, as they got a good bit of money in on Friday night.”

As a result, Doireann set up a separate GoFundMe page so they could track the donations.

“Some people donated 60 quid, a lot of them are people I don’t even know,” she added.

Doireann explained that homelessness was something she was quite open about with Ayla from a young age.

“I’d be outside Aldi and there would be a guy there that nobody speaks to, so I’d go over and come back and she’d be like ‘who’s that? When we’d go inside I’d explain the situation.”

Ayla plans to use the money to buy Android tablets and headphones for the children.

“The reason I chose tablets is because they are good for girls and boys of all ages, everyone wants one and they don’t take up much space,” she wrote.

“If eight people donate €10 each then that’s €80, so that’s a tablet and a pair of headphones right there, which saves one kid’s Christmas.”

Doireann said she went along with the idea at first but began to take her daughter’s plans more seriously when she realised how much it meant to her.

“When she says something she means it and I didn’t want to let her down because I felt she could do so much.”

Donations on the GoFundMe page stand at over €1,100, but Doireann believes many people donated directly through Barnardos. 

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