Leeds schoolboy launches fundraising raffle to support new firefighter friends

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11-year-old Michael Bottomley is something of a fundraising hero in Leeds.

After his stepdad suffered a major stroke in September 2018, Michael raised £250 for charity Headway which had supported his family through the traumatic time.

11-year-old Michael Bottomley with mum Leonie Taylor, 2-year-old brother Tommy and the White Watch firefighters

11-year-old Michael Bottomley with mum Leonie Taylor, 2-year-old brother Tommy and the White Watch firefighters

Since then, he's gone on to raise hundreds of pounds for local charities, recently supporting the Sunshine Sam campaign to get life-changing treatment for a boy with cerebral palsy.

In September, Michael befriended firefighters at Cookridge Fire Station when he started high school next door, bringing the White Watch team biscuits and brightening their day.

After spotting a Fire Fighters Charity clothing bank outside the station, Michael decided the charity would be the next subject of his fundraising efforts.

He is hosting a raffle event on November 22 and has bagged prizes from Barbour, Pizza Express, Starbucks and even Rolex.

Michael has already raised 400 for the Fire Fighters Charity

Michael has already raised 400 for the Fire Fighters Charity

Michael's mum Leonie Taylor said: "I’m overwhelmed with pride. He comes up with the ideas but doesn’t know how to do them, so he calls me his PA. He tells me what to do and and I do it.

“He calls the Cookridge White Watch firefighters his new fire family.

“They’ve all been fantastic helping out with the fundraising, they treat him like he’s an adult and not a kid, with respect.

“It’s given Michael such a boost to his confidence. They are an absolute credit to the community."

Michael pictured with step-dad Darren Taylor, who suffered a major stroke in 2018

Michael pictured with step-dad Darren Taylor, who suffered a major stroke in 2018

Tickets for the fundraiser are £1 each and Michael has already raised £400 for the Fire Fighters Charity by holding online raffles and auctions.

Firefighter Alex Hunt, of the White Watch team who have befriended Michael, says he is an inspiration.

The 41-year-old added: "He wanted to give a bit back to us - he came to the station one day, we showed him round the appliances and he really enjoyed it.

“He’s a cracking little lad, he's been through a lot. When we’re on shift he comes in with a packet of biscuits and a smile on his face.

“Everyone has chipped in for the raffle, selling tickets, it’s been a bit of an effort from the watch.”

The raffle will be drawn at Cookridge Fire Station on Friday, November 22 at 3pm.

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