Student earns worldwide acclaim with Australian wildfire fundraiser

A Silcoates School pupil has gained worldwide acclaim after raising more than £700 for a charity dedicated to helping Australian wildlife.

Friday, 27th March 2020, 2:37 pm
Updated Friday, 27th March 2020, 2:38 pm
Emma Cole and Henry with the photograph from David Yarrow

Henry Thomson, aged 11, was so saddened by the recent bushfires in Australia that he took it upon himself to raise funds by selling pet treats.

With the help of Silcoates support worker Emma Cole and her colleague Michelle Wardman, Henry also organised a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses and via a JustGiving page.

Emma said: “Henry is really passionate about animal welfare and when I showed him the picture of the fires in Australia, and the plight of the koalas and kangaroos, it really concerned him.

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“The charity we picked, Wild Ark, seemed to be the one that had made most investment into helping what had happened with an all-round approach.

“They weren’t just giving money to the people on the ground, they were also investing in the future, in new trees and new projects.”

It wasn’t just people in the Wakefield area, however, that were taken by Henry’s initiative - the JustGiving page received donations from as far as Canada and the USA.

Emma said: “We set up an Instagram page for Connie who is my rescue dog and through that we found loads of other animal lovers all over the world, and they helped to donate which was really lovely.”

As a thank you, Henry has been gifted a photo of one of the animals he is helping to save by a famous nature photographer.

Emma said: “The photographer, David Yarrow, teamed up with WildArk to offer the picture of the koala to anyone who raised more than 500 Australian dollars.”

For more information on Wild Ark, visit