A young equestrian who has taken on the “paper clip challenge” for charity is appealing for generous donors to help him meet his target.
Keen rider Kasper Andreasen, 12, has already raised almost £10k for Angel Wishes, a charity that provides gifts and outings for children with cancer.
Part of his fundraising includes the challenge, in which people are asked to exchange one of Kasper’s items for something of a higher value.
The idea was first trialled by Canadian Kyle MacDonald in 2006, who started with a red paper clip and ended up with a house.
“He saw some kids on YouTube trying it and he asked me if he could do it,” said his mother Phyllis. “I said no at first but I gave in in the end — I told him if he could get his first swap, then I would help him.
“He picked Angel Wishes to support as a girl who lives near us was diagnosed with leukaemia. Kasper is very close to her, and wanted to do something,” she added.
Tesco was the first to step forward and take Kasper up on his offer, swapping his paper clip for a £12 remote control car. He exchanged the car for a £20 meal voucher at a local hotel and the voucher for a second-hand bicycle.
“By swap five we had a brand new wedding dress — we got a bit stuck after that one and Kasper went and appealed on radio for a Cinderella who might want the dress,” said Phyllis. “A jeweller swapped it for a Tag Heuer watch, and also gave back the dress, which he sold.
“After that another jeweller swapped the watch for a diamond pendant and earrings worth £2,000 — and that’s where we are currently, on swap eight.”
Phyllis said that in the beginning they had hoped “to maybe get a few T-shirts and have a bit of fun” but that the challenge had quickly gained momentum.
“It would be brilliant if we could end up with something big for the charity like a car or a motorbike,” she said.
As well as hoping to raise more money through the paperclip challenge, Kasper has raised £7,000 from other items donated from businesses, especially in his home town of Banbridge, County Down.
His fundraising efforts even meant he was nominated for a Youth and Future Talent award award for being an inspirational young person — he came runner up.
“He works on it every night, trawling the internet for adverts. He’s written to all sorts of people, including Dragon’s Den and Richard Branson, but they haven’t responded,” said Phyllis.
“Every afternoon he gets off the school bus and asks ‘has there been anything today, Mum?’ — he gets a bit deflated.
“We decided we had to up our game and contact H&H to see if anyone could help with the next swap.
“It would be brilliant if there was a celebrity or someone who could come forward.”
Phyllis added that anyone can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org, and that while Kasper has been offered tickets and things for himself, he has turned them all down.
“He says no as he thinks it’s bad luck. He says it’s OK to be greedy for children with cancer, but not for himself,” she said.
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Horse-mad Kasper rides every Saturday at Narrow Water Equestrian Centre.
“He’s driving me mad looking at horses at the moment,” added Phyllis. “He’s not long started riding, but he wants us to buy him a pony instead of going on holiday!”
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