Corby teenage charity worker ready to bring Christmas cheer to homeless
A Corby teenager inspired to help homeless people after watching a charity appeal will be handing out goodie bags this Christmas.
Thomas Thorpe, who lives on Corby's Priors Hall estate, has been raising money since March after being inspired by the Red Nose Day broadcast focusing on homelessness.
The 13-year-old, helped by his mum Lisa Banks, has held regular car boot sales to fund 'blessing bags' which they will hand out on December 27 in Corby.
Lisa said: "This year he watched Comic Relief with me and asked me to make a donation with his birthday money which I did straight away.
"Since then, he has wanted to help people and make a difference. Any pocket money he gets, he wants to donate it."
Thomas' first charity efforts saw him collecting more than 250 books for local schools and Kettering General Hospital's Skylark Ward for children.
He then advertised on a local Facebook page, and asked his school asking for donations of clothes, toiletries, shoes, sleeping bags for homeless people, which he donated to Corby Rise.
Lisa and Thomas hosted regular indoor car boot sales at Priors Hall Community Centre with money raised through entrance and refreshments going towards buying items needed to make goodie bags for homeless people.
She said: "Thomas will see a tent in the street, a homeless man in the town and want to help, so we go home, make a little blessing bag of food and drink and return.
"He gets the mick taken out of him at school because of his charity work but he's amazing.
"I'm so proud of him. What an amazing person he has become."
Thomas who is a pupil at Kettering Science Academy, was diagnosed with ADHD/ASD and Lisa says he has struggled in school with social skills, making friends and being bullied.
His selfless work has been recognised by the school with him being given the school's charity award.
Lisa said: "He knew he was getting an award but he didn't know what for. He got quite emotional and he was surprised that he had been recognised for his work.
"He wants to do so much for others, making a difference to someone’s life yet his own life is a daily struggle, with the ADHD and no matter what he does the bullies are there attacking everything and anything.
"As a parent it scares me knowing how low he feels, but because we have such a close bond, he tells me everything.
"I want him to know that things will get better, people are kind, and I want to give him the confidence and encouragement to keep going and not give up on anything you want to do in life."
On December 27, Thomas will visit the clients of charity group Corby Rise to hand out the blessing bags.
In the new year, Thomas will pick up another award, this time from 422 (Corby) Squadron - Royal Air Force Air Cadets for the the most outstanding new cadet.
Proud mum Lisa said: "He is making some amazing positive decisions, he is making a difference and not to let the negative people take it away.
"I want to shout it from the rooftops how amazing he is.
"It’s Christmas time and he of course is looking forward to it but at the same time he also wants to let a homeless person know they are not forgotten about and not alone, a very unselfish thought for a young boy. I am so proud of him."