• Tony Bosworth

Ten-year-old William goes above and beyond to raise $600 for Blaxlands Ridge RFS

What happens when you’re 10-years-old and raising money for a worthy course and your best mate, your dog Evo, passes away suddenly and you miss him so much you think you’d maybe like to spend some of that money on a new dog?

William Whitehurst receives a trophy and certificate of thanks from Blaxlands Ridge RFS for the $600 he raised

If you’re William Whitehurst you take a deep breath and you do what is right. You go on raising that money because Blaxlands Ridge RFS brigade, who fought through the worst bushfire season ever, really need as much support as you can give them.

“My job at home is to take out the rubbish and we normally get to keep the can and bottle returns and earn money but I thought I could donate this instead,” said William

who’s in Year 5 at Kurrajong North Public School..

“My sisters agreed because normally they would get some of the money too. Last year I helped my sister with her fundraising and this year it was my turn to decide.”

The fund-raising idea came about after the family – mum Julie, dad Andrew and sisters Alice, 6, and 12-year-old Bella, went to the Blaxlands Ridge RFS station for a talk about how the brigade needed new equipment and how they had to choose carefully because they didn’t have much money to pay for items.

The family lives at Blaxlands Ridge so the local brigade is close to their hearts and they’ve donated money before.

“Dad has a skip bin at his work shed and all the workers put their empty cans and bottles in it,” said William.

William loves water sports as well as fund raising

“We also have a big container at home so we just kept collecting until we thought we had enough cans. My pop and his neighbours from Pindimar also heard what I was doing and they saved their cans for me too. Sometimes I would help mum take the cans in and sometimes she would do it for me as well if we had too many at home.”

“My mum and dad’s business made a donation straight away since they don’t have much time to actually help at the fire station,” William told the Post.

“When we left we started talking about how us kids could help the fire station. It took a few months to decide and we went back and asked them at the meeting if we could raise money for them.

“My sister and I thought of return and earn, a BBQ sausage sizzle, or selling chocolates. We realised that selling chocolates would be easier because everyone likes chocolates. I helped my sister do that last year and she raised $1000 for the station and donated it. I really wanted to do the same this year but mum said no because of Covid. We thought people might not buy them because you have to choose them from the box and people might touch them. So the next best thing was the return and earn. Lots of people always have cans and bottles so I just started telling my friends and family about it.”

Since February, William and his family have been collecting cans and bottles and soon they had enough to raise $600 for the local RFS brigade.

William paddling on the Colo River

“Mum just transferred the money because we wanted to give it early in case they needed equipment for the fire season. We didn’t go in and drop it off.

"I felt good that they got the money but I was pretty proud when they gave me a certificate and a trophy. It made me feel good that I did something for the community.”

“I am very proud of William and what he has achieved,” says mum Julie. “Trying to teach my children to be giving and helping others is very important.”

“We are a very busy family. We run a roofing business and the children are involved in many sports so giving back to the community in any way we can is important.

“All year he has been reminded of where the money is going.

“He did nearly falter when our dog passed away earlier in the year and he wanted to buy a new one with his sisters but they thought they would wait and do the right thing because that’s what they had agreed on. So I am very proud that he didn’t make the selfish choice, which at 10-years-old is pretty amazing.

“They all agreed that they would help each other every year so next year it’s his little sister Alice's turn to organise the fundraiser and she wants to sell chocolates again.”

William got another reward for all the hard work, when his family presented him with Inca, his new dog, and like Evo, also a Guide Dog reject from Glossodia. Julie says they’re already best buddies.

Happy ending - William and Inca

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