'They wanted to help the homeless, but it was a random request': Ely couple inspired by children's mission to target homelessness

PUBLISHED: 17:24 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:29 11 October 2019

Rhys and Riley Gale, 8, and Kayla Wallerson, 10, are aiming to raise £1,000 to support homeless people in Ely and surrounding areas. Picture: DEBBIE WESTLEY

Rhys and Riley Gale, 8, and Kayla Wallerson, 10, are aiming to raise £1,000 to support homeless people in Ely and surrounding areas. Picture: DEBBIE WESTLEY

Archant

It's not every day that you get your own children to say they want to support homeless people in their local area.

Rhys and Riley Gale, 8, and Kayla Wallerson, 10, are aiming to raise £1,000 to support homeless people in Ely and surrounding areas. Picture: DEBBIE WESTLEYRhys and Riley Gale, 8, and Kayla Wallerson, 10, are aiming to raise £1,000 to support homeless people in Ely and surrounding areas. Picture: DEBBIE WESTLEY

But for one Pymoor family, this is exactly what happened when mother-of-three Debbie Westley listened to a quite spontaneous idea.

Debbie, who has two eight-year-old twin sons and a 10-year-old daughter, was surprised when they wanted to offer essential items out of generosity.

"The children do a lot with the school, and one morning, they said they wanted to help the homeless; it was a random request," Debbie said.

"They wanted to give them warm things, so I said we can get sleeping bags, socks and things like that.

Rhys and Riley Gale, 8, and Kayla Wallerson, 10, are aiming to raise £1,000 to support homeless people in Ely and surrounding areas. Picture: DEBBIE WESTLEYRhys and Riley Gale, 8, and Kayla Wallerson, 10, are aiming to raise £1,000 to support homeless people in Ely and surrounding areas. Picture: DEBBIE WESTLEY

"We are just really looking to encourage them (the children) and make sure they are not let down and help them as much as we can."

Debbie set up a GoFundMe page last month, targeting £1,000 to help provide items including sleeping bags, jackets and socks for homeless people living in the Ely area.

But her children, Rhys, Riley and Kayla, who attend Robert Arkenstall Primary in Haddenham and Ely St Mary's CoE Primary, are not new to helping society as they aim to make their mark on their community.

"They do a lot for Greenpeace and recycling, but nothing like this before," Debbie said.

"I do not think there will be so many challenges (in raising the target), and activities are still in the pipeline.

"I am trying not to put too many ideas into their heads because I want them to think for themselves.

"It is really good just to make it their thing and not just about the adults.

"The children have decided to start out small and want to walk from Pymoor to Ely which is 5.5 miles in two weeks time on the 20th October.

"Weather permitting, we will start walking at 11am and estimate to arrive at Ely College by 1pm.

"The children also have a cake sale in the pipe lines and are going to do a carboot sale with their old toys and anything else I can find for them."

Supermarkets and other retailers have been approached by Debbie to support the cause, with Tesco in Ely the only supporter.

But despite this, she is confident that with more recognition, the more likely this initiative will succeed.

"My partner Kevin is fully behind it and friends have shared this on Facebook already," Debbie added.

"If we get more donations, we can venture out a bit more.

"The more money we get, the more we can raise awareness to the wider community."

To donate, visit Debbie's GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/mxbh8k-help-the-homeless-this-christmas.

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